Friday, October 31, 2014

Notable Quotable: J.K. Rowling (#52)

"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."
     -- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#15)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Could you ever double as a spy like Snape?

I'm not sure I have the constitution to be a double spy.  I love the idea of it and in the right circumstance would have the motive and courage to do so, but my poker face is awful.  I would have been dead many times over if I had been in Snape's position.  If it were a life and death kind of situation it's possible but even then I'm doubtful that I could pull it off.  I give Snape mad props for his ability to be a double spy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Summer We Read Gatsby

by Danielle Ganek
published: Viking, 2010
pages: 304

When Aunt Lydia dies and leaves her beautiful old house in the Hamptons to her two nieces, they must decide what to do with the house.  These women have nothing in common other than a shared father; Cassie grew up traveling in Europe and Peck grew up in New York.  Now, their Aunt is forcing them to spend time together in the place where they shared their summers growing up.

This book was entertaining and engaging but the writing itself felt very immature.  The women in this book are in their late 20s, early 30s but the writing felt more they were much younger than that or much older.  Either way they are traipsing around as if they have nothing more to do than talk trash about people and spending money they don't have.  The biggest plot twist in this book should have been common sense.  I definitely saw it coming and I thought it was crazy that they didn't suggest it to begin with.

The characters personalities were entertaining, especially, Peck. Her ostentatious personality and over the top certainty was quite annoying but slowly became endearing through out the story.  I found myself enjoying her less than witty banter and her dedication to her friends and family.  However, my favorite character Hamilton.  

Danielle Ganek had plenty of potential with this book, but it just didn't translate well as I wished it would.  The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books and I love the idea of using the book as a center piece but the parallels just weren't my cup of tea.

Stars: 2/5


"What a charming book!  Danielle Ganek's The Summer We Read Gatsby is a fully engrossing page turner filled with delightful characters and sumptuous details about one perfect July in the Hamptons.  Like summer itself, this bewitching novel will leave you half in love and yearning for more."
     --Elin Hilderbrand, author of Barefoot

"Even though many of the novel's revelations can be seen a mile away, getting there is a fun, witty, and surprisingly moving trip."
     --Publisher's Weekly

An Eclectic Reader 2014 Challenge book. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

I love Halloween, one of my favorite things is cosplaying and Halloween is just another excuse to dress up as my favorite characters!  Here are some of the characters that I've either been for Halloween or want to be someday.

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) - I was Hermione four years in a row for Halloween as a kid and I used the outfit on several occasions for different projects/presentations for school.  That costume may be too small now, but I have another one to replace it.

2. Hawkeye (aka Clint Barton) (Avengers, Hawkeye comics) - He happens to be my favorite Avenger and this year I'll be dressing up as him for Halloween.

3. Scout (ala Ham costume) (To Kill A Mockingbird) - Scout is one of my favorite literary characters ever and the fact that she had to play a ham in the pageant.  This would be a great costume to run around in.

4. & 5.  Legolas/Arwen (Lord of the Rings) - Either of theses elves would be incredibly fun to be for Halloween.  They are equally bad-ass in their own right.  Legolas has got his bow and his swords and he shield surfing skills.  Arwen is beautiful and elegant, but also the immortal that gave up her immortality for the one she loved.

6. Holly Short (Artemis Fowl) - She may be part of L.E.P. Recon but she is so much more than a fairy.  She can fly around using all her high tech equipment and her one blue eye and one brown eye make her very distinctive.

7. Sherlock Holmes - Who doesn't want to be Sherlock Holmes (or Watson for that matter!)

8. Piper, AnnaBeth, or Hazel (Heroes of Olympus) - Any of these awesome demi-gods would be so much fun to dress as.  They are all headstrong and brilliant in their own right.

And some Halloween movies!

1. Hocus Pocus
2. Halloweentown (and accompanying sequels)
3. Nightmare Before Christmas
4. Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin
5. Casper
6. Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets
7. Practical Magic
8. Twitches
9. Casper Meets Wendy
10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
11. Ghostbusters

Friday, October 24, 2014

Notable Quotable: Danielle Ganek (#51)

"We all tell our stories the way we want to.  And sometimes those stories have nothing to do with reality."
     --The Summer We Read Gatsby

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#14)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts

If there was one thing you could change about Harry Potter, what would it be?

This is a very difficult question and I'm not sure I can answer this question. I could say I wouldn't have nearly as any of the characters I love die, but if I'm honest the story's ending wouldn't be so impactful if those deaths hadn't happened.  They show the realism and consequences of war and I wouldn't change that at all.

I guess if I could change anything, I would like to have seen more about what happened at Hogwarts during the year the trio went looking for the horcruxes.  So it's not really like I'm changing anything, I just want to know more.  I think that Luna, Ginny and Neville had some interesting adventures while Harry, Ron and Hermione were off having their own adventure.  I would love to see them running around the school causing all sorts of chaos and inspiring defiance across the school.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Scorch Trials

by James Dashner
published: Delacorte Press, 2010
pages: 360

Now that they've made it out of the Maze, Thomas and the rest of the Gladers have to travel across the Scorch without the aid of WICKED in two weeks.  There are no rules in the Scorch only people that want them dead.  Will they survive and make it to the safe zone in their allotted time or suffer the in the unbearable heat and danger of the Scorch?

The predictability of this books was split; there were definitely some parts that I saw coming, but there were so many more that just blindsided me.  It was incredible to read and truly have no idea what would happen next.  Some questions were answered but all of those answers led to even more questions.  This book is a maze of information, misinformation and plot twists.  It definitely kept me reading!

There did seem to be quite a bit of sleeping and passing out, which is good for showing the passage of time, but it also was slightly annoying.  I'm not sure Thomas needed to pass out so much to further this book along.  The book as a whole is quite fast paced, there's a lot going on, but then those moments of sleep and passing out alter the pace significantly.  It slows it down in an awkward way and then abruptly picks back up where it left off.

This book continues to dive into the characters, stretching and growing them.  Minho, Newt and Thomas excel into their leadership roles, each relying on their on strength as much as each others strengths which builds the bond between them.  Along with the old familiar characters, several new intriguing ones introduced.  Not sure, where their loyalties lie, Thomas and the others skirt around them as much as possible until they are forced to interact.  Trust is a huge issue in this book, which is only natural but who each person decides to trust offers insight to the characters.  I wondered if the guys would trust anyone but themselves, given their circumstances, but you'll be amazed with their decisions.

This series is going to be the death of me.  As soon as I'm done with this review, I am going to pick up The Death Cure.  Well done, James Dashner, I am completely and utterly under this series' spell.

Stars: 4/5


"Wonderful action writing--fast-paced...but smart and well observed."

"Breathless, cinematic action."
     --Publishers Weekly

"Heart-pounding to the very last moment."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book."
     --Deseret News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: New Series I Want to Start

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I found this harder than I expected so I decided the choose series that started in 2010 or later.  That makes them newish, right?

1. The Selection by Kiera Cass (2012)
2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (2011)
3. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (2013)

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (2012)
5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (2011)
6. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy (2013)

7. Splintered by A.G. Howard (2013)
8. Mind Games by Kiersten White (2013)
9. Taken by Erin Bowman (2013)

10. The Archived by Victoria Schwab (2013)
11. Hexed by Michelle Krys (2014)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Notable Quotable: James Dashner (#50)

"No. I kind of accepted it, in a way.  That saving you was worth more than what we might've had."
     -- The Scorch Trials

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#13)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Where would you live as a witch/wizard?

It would be important to be able to have my muggle family and friends present in my life.  Naturally, I would want to live in a magical surrounding, somewhere like Hogsmeade or Godric's Hollow.  I'm not sure what magical law says about bringing muggles into magical surroundings if they already know about magic.  I'm guessing they might be slightly more lenient for muggle-borns, but who knows,  If that's a no go, then I would want to live somewhere with a magical community that mixes with the muggle community, like London.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott
published: Scholastic, 1995 (Originally 1869)
pages: 562

Life for the March women isn't splendid and frivolous like those that possess great fortune.  Their father is off at war and they must work to keep food on the table and their lives comfortable.  Most of the time they don't mind this, but there are moments when they wish their lives easier.  Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy must navigate growing up with grace and elegance in an ever changing world where hardships and heartaches await them.  Their story is one of love and friendship between four sisters.

The reader watches as four sisters grow up together, experience joy and sorrow together, and ultimately find comfort and happiness together.  This truly is a coming of age story, but not just for one character.  The reader gets to enjoy an entire cast of characters growing and learning and coming into their own.  Meg, the sweet motherly oldest sister, Jo, the wild worldly tomboy, Beth, the kind compassionate angel, and Amy, the young bold socialite.  Each girl's personality incredibly different but complementary to their siblings.  Of course, you must not forget Laurie the boy next door and Jo's best friend.  There are quite a few characters to love in this story and few to really dislike, but each significant in their own way.

This story may be lovely but it is long.  There were points in the story that I skimmed a bit because the pacing was incredibly slow.  I was anxious to learn more about Jo and less concerned about Amy at times and Meg sort of disappeared at a certain point in the story.  Beth is all around one of my favorite characters, loyal and true to whom she loves and cares for.  One of my favorite examples of Beth's character is the little invalid doll she nurses throughout her story.  She feeds and cares for her and takes her on walks; the tender thoughts she has for a doll carries over into her interactions with the other characters and make her beloved.

This story captured my heart, it is no wonder that people are still reading this book almost 150 years later.

Stars: 3/5

Monday, October 13, 2014

Notable Quotable: Gillian Flynn (#49)

"My mother had always told her kids: if you're about to do something, and you want to know if it's a bad idea, imagine seeing it printed in the paper for all the world to see."
     --Gone Girl

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#12)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Quibbler or Daily Prophet

OH this is a very difficult decision because I would be interested in reading both.  I would love reading the Quibbler.  It would be like crack to me; I may not believe everything I read but I would definitely enjoy reading it.  Besides, Mr. Lovegood knows how to report news.  However, I would be interested in reading the Daily Prophet for more run-of-the-mill news, though I would find it nearly as entertaining nor informative as the Quibbler.  Either way the moving pictures would be incredibly cool!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


by Lois Lowry
Pages: 393

Claire was just doing her job.  She was a Vessel; she carried the Product at age fourteen.  She didn't know that she'd become attached, that she would love and long for her son once he was born.  When they took him away, it became her mission to find him.  She came from a community where she was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible.  Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means sacrificing what she holds dear.

This book is the answer to the rest of the sort of connected series.  It brings back old, well loved characters from the other books and gives you new exciting and lovable one to attach yourselves to.  I found myself smiling every time one of my old favorites came back into this story.  It was as if I were a proud parent watching them grow and prosper.  Baby Gabe has reached his teenaged years and become a genuine young man.

Claire is one of Lois Lowry's strongest characters in this series.  Each of the characters have a driving force that propels them, but Claire's is one that kept me reading late into the night.  I couldn't put this book down.  In fact, when the book was over, I wanted more.  I wanted to see character interactions when everything was said and done.  That being said, I love how it ended.  I love that it wasn't quite an ending but it felt finite.  Even though we see an ending, it is clear that the story is just beginning for some of the characters. 

Lois Lowry took her time creating this world and these characters and this was definitely the conclusion I wished for these much loved characters.  I give Lowry a grand well done.

Stars 4/5


"Son is a tender conclusion to this memorable story, and definitely the best of the books in this sequence since The Giver itself."
     -- School Library Journal

"Written with powerful, moiving simplicity, Claire's story stands on its own, but as the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative socio-political themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope."
     --Kirkus Review

"Lowry is one of those rare writers who can craft stories as meaningful as they are enticing."
     --Booklist, stared review

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Driven Novels

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - This book took me awhile to read, but it was so beautifully written and tells the story of a young girl and her family so captively that I just couldn't stop reading this story.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Most people know my thoughts and feelings about this book, but just to say it again: I love this story.  I love who narrates the book, I love Liesel's story and the people that surround her.

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - This book is such an interesting character study of a teenage boy.  It will be the closest thing I will ever get to understand the teenage guy psyche, and I find that fascinating and also incredibly thought provoking.

4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Seeing Scout and Jem grow up in this sotry is one of my favorite things.  We see everything from the young girl's perspective and speaks simple truths that adults seem to over-think or forget about.

5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - The writing in this book is captivating, it just made me want to continue to read and learn about this man's childhood and his friends.

6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - The main character drives this story forward, but the thing I really like about this book is that the main character is literally telling the his story to someone else and we have the privilege of hearing it too.

7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - This story is all about the characters and there is so much character development here.  I got caught up in their stories and experiences.

8. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - I haven't used this book in a while, but I am struck by the characters in this story and how I feel right along with them.  By the end of this book, it is as though I'm reading something about some friends rather than fictional characters.

9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - This story is driven by one girl's story and people's interactions with her.  It's narrated in two voices which gives it a particular impact that is devastating and impossible to ignore.

10. Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky -  Charlie's story is what drives this book.  His observations are unique and potentially life altering for him and the cast of characters around him.  He sees the world in an interesting light.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Notable Quotable: Louisa May Alcott (#48)

"'Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!'"
     --Little Women

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#11)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. 

Judging by your family, would you be a Muggle-born, Half-blood or Pureblood?

I would most definitely be a Muggle-born.  My family is fun and quirky but they are altogether muggle.  However, my family would be completely accepting of the fact, in fact I'm sure my brothers would be jealous even if they didn't let on.  My parents would send me packages just to be able to say they sent me mail view and owl.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October TBR: Sequels

I wanted to read the Harry Potter series again this month but they are all packed away in boxes at a different house from the one I am currently living in, so that's not going to work.  Instead, I thought I'd read some of those sequels I've either been procrastinating or dying to read.  Off to the library I go to pick these up.  

Currently Reading
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Possible Candidates

  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • The Death Cure by James Dashner
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  • Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
  • City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
  • Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

New Releases
  • The Young Elite by Marie Lu (Oct. 7)
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (Oct. 7)