Friday, February 27, 2015

Notable Quotable: Roald Dahl (#67)

"The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives.  She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad.  She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling.  She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."
     -- Matilda

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#29)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

DADA teacher:

Hands down Professor Remus Lupin is my favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.  He's one of the few professor's in Harry's tenure that actually taught his classes useful things.  Aside from being one of my favorite characters, Lupin cared about his students and genuinely wanted them to learn in a practical and hands-on way.  Learning first hand how to take down Boggarts as well as defend themselves was a great teaching technic.  It would have been the way I learned best if I had been in his class.  I loved his teaching style.  He's was great teacher and a great person.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Faire Lady

by Laura Wettersten
published: Simon & Schuster; 2014
pages: 352

Rowena's ex-boyfriend is a dirty rotten cheater, a cheater that she would have to see practically every day during the summer if she kept her job at the mall.  So when she comes across a job opportunity an hour outside of town, she jumps on the chance to get away from him.  Doubling as a face-painter and a bar wench, Ro finds herself navigating the summer in the Renaissance Festival.  It helps that she has set her sights on an incredibly attractive knight that could help her take her mind off of her ex.  Will she find what she's looking for, or will her simpler summer turn out more complicated than she planned?

I haven't had this much fun reading a book in quite a while.  It was light and cute, but it also dealt with topics that so many teens deal with: parental pressure and passion.  We see the Rowena struggle with balancing what she wanted and what she knew her parents wanted.  It was quite believable.

Even though I had this story mapped out in my mind within the first 50 pages, I enjoyed reading this so much.  Granted, there were twists and turns that I did not account for so there definitely were some surprises for me.

The characters were so much fun to read.  I love Suze and Ro's relationship and the ease in which they fell into being friends.  It is dynamic but it shows the fragility of new friendships.

I absolutely love Renaissance Festivals, so when I first heard about this book I was extremely excited to read a book with this fairly uncommon setting.  I used to dream about working at a Renaissance Festival, so it was fun to live my childhood/teenage dream out through this book.  I wish I had read this closer to festival season though because now I have a hankering to go! 

I sure hope Laura Wettersten writes many more books in the future because I will definitely read them.

Star: 4.5/5


"Sharp, funny dialogue is mixed with thoughtful resolutions of relevant teenage topics--love and lust, admitting fault, the mettle it takes to pursue a passion.  The rich backdrop of the fair, with its vivid description and appealing characters, is icing on the cake.  Verily, fine fare."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"Wettersten provides a playful, fresh setting for her YA debut, and summer fun abounds amid the jousting, mead-drinking, and evidence that chivalry is indeed not dead...[a] light touch and solid characterizations make it a satisfying read."
     --Publishers Weekly

"Wettersten offers a whimsical setting, engaging characters, and plenty of summer romance, making this an easy sell for teens."
     --School Library Journal

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 book. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Hermione Jean Granger (Harry Potter) - I have to give it up to the female character that shaped my childhood and showed me that I could be smart and awesome at the same time.  Hermione is one of the great female characters ever written and I love her dearly.

2. Ginny Wealsey (Harry Potter) - Ginny is another one of those defining female characters for me.  She is a complete badass and I love her for it.  What I love even more is that she was brave enough to send someone she liked a singing valentine when she was eleven.  That takes guts people!

3. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) - Jane Austen knows how to write excellent female characters, but Lizzie always struck a chord with me.  She loves reading just as much as I do and she never let a thing a social graces or a single man in possession of good fortune distract her from what she wanted in life.

4.  Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) - Cinder is a piece of work and she is not an average teenage girl. She, in fact, has much bigger issues than the average teenage girl, but she still has the normal ones as well.  One of the reasons I like her so much is that among all of her amazing butt kicking moments, she still freaks out about a guy and reacts to situations in an appropriate manner of a sixteen year old.

5. Sabrina and Daphne (The Sister Grimm) - I love these sisters.  They are a dynamic duo and take care of each other, but they also fight like sisters.  Everything about them is realistic, perhaps not their heritage but you never know.  There are times when Daphne knows better than her older sister but they compliment each other well.  That's why they work.  That and they fight fairytale crime, which is awesome!

6. Kira (Gathering Blue) - I love Kira's boldness and her absolutely headstrong determination to live despite the world and everyone around her wanting different.  I love that in her world where different is unfathomable, unforgivable and she embodies what her society hates.  I love how brave and independent she becomes and the transformation we see in the book.

7. Opal (Because of Winn-Dixie) - Opal's point of view in this story is the reason I love her so much.  She's young and a lot has happened to her that she doesn't quite understand, yet she goes around trying to figure it out.  She takes initiative in making friends and talking to new people when she moves into town.  She kind and gentle and understanding.

8. Minny Jackson (The Help) - Two words: Shit Pie.  That's all I need to describe why I love Minny so much.

9. Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson) - Aside from her incredible wisdom and her baseball cap of invisibility, Annabeth is a bundle of fierce sarcasm and loyalty.  She kicks butt when she needs too and is an incredible friend to boot.  Percy and the gang are lucky to have her around.

10. Tess (Legend) - Tess is an awesome heroine for multiple reasons but the one I like the most is that when things don't go her way, she doesn't become bitter about it.  Yes, she gets upset and has to distance herself but in the end she doesn't spiral into hatred or any other self-depreciating manner.  She moves on from the turmoil and is stronger for it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Orange is the New Black

by Piper Kerman
published: Spiegel and Grau, 2010
pages: 298

When Piper was 22-years-old, she was young, reckless and in love and that's what got her into trouble.  Ten years later, with a boyfriend, a career and a loving family, her past caught up to her.   Piper was named in a drug ring bust and sentenced to 15 months in prison.  With this true story, we get a look into the lives of women in prison, why they're locked up and what happens to them.

The social commentary about prisons in general, but specifically women's prisons in America.  I really have no knowledge of how prisons work other than what I see in movies and fictional books, which is really nothing to go on.  This is my first real insight the prison system and it was not pretty.  I obviously didn't think it was going to be peaches and cream but what I learned about prisons astonished me.  There are so many systematic problems about the prisons in the United States that come to light in this book.

The cast of characters in this book are great.  The humor and whit of these women is amazing, especially for their circumstances. The most interesting part is that they are all in real people, some of the defining traits different but they are most definitely real.  I love that Piper dedicated her book to one of the women she met in prison.

I think about all those women who are in prison because of one decision and how society as a whole seems to forget that they are people with families and lives.  It's appalling, and very uncomfortable to read.  It makes me want to know how to help these women find a voice, show importance.  In the back of some editions of the book, there are different opportunities to get involved.  I have plans to make good on those resources.

Stars: 3/5


"Fascinating...The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can't unbind."

"Moving...transcends the memoir genre's usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you."
     --USA Today

"It's a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one-both for the reader and for Kerman."

An Alphabet Soup Book.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Notable Quotable: Rainbow Rowell (#66)

"In new situation, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)"
     -- Fangirl

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dorothy Must Die

by Danielle Paige
published: HarperCollins, 2014
pages: 452

Amy Gumm is just a girl from Kansas that nobody particularly likes, not even her mother.  But when a tornado sweeps her off her feet and she lands in Oz, Amy's world is turned upside down.  However, this Oz doesn't look like the Oz of the books or the movie.  Dorothy has taken control and zapped the magic from the land.  Amy meets a cast witches and wizards who have decided that she is the only one that can save Oz from Dorothy's tyranny.  The only question is, can Amy be the person everyone wants her to be; can she really kill Dorothy?

One of the things I thought was so cool about this book is it took old favorite characters and twisted them, made them new.  Dorothy still has her lion, scarecrow, and tin man but they are far from the characters we met in the original.  Dorothy is nothing like the sweet mild-tempered girl she's supposed to be either.  I love that the characters surprised me and that they were strange and eerie, mad even.  It was nice to hate characters that I had previously loved.

While Amy is an out of the ordinary, hot-tempered, very relatable girl, I found her annoying at times.  She whined quite a bit for being transported to a previously considered fairytale land.  Granted, Amy did have very good reasons for whining, (like, she had no clue what she was doing and no one would tell her) it still grew tiring.  Also, I know she's a teenage girl but please can we not focus on how attractive she finds every teenage male in this book.  There are way more important things to think about.

I do like that Amy uses aggression as a defense mechanism and she has the potential to harness it into something productive.  The whole idea that someone who is considered nothing by everyone at home can be considered someone great is beautiful.  It teaches importance, everyone is important even if they don't agree.

This book made me angry, but in a good way.  Here's why:  I didn't know it was part of a series, therefore I expected wrap-up and closure at the end of this novel.  I did not get that.  Instead, I got the set up, the why-isn't-this-ending confusion and the holy-crap-when-does-the-next-book-come-out panic.  I am relieved to know that I only have to wait until the end of March. Gah!  This book snuck up on me and I will try to wait patiently for the next book in this series.

Stars: 4/5


"Reader's of Baum's books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"Gone are the days of rainbows, Lollipop Guilds and pretty much anything to sing about in a major key.  For those willing to go on a quest with a heroine more attuned to our times than the Dust Bowl era, there's no place like it.
     --USA Today

"Paige delivers a solid, intense, and strange narrative that draws deeply on its source material."
     --Publishers Weekly

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 book.
Alphabet Soup Challenge book.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Like/Dislikes About Romance in Fiction

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


1. Humor in the romance is great.  One of the things I love about good romances in fiction is the humor that comes with some of them.  When they can make each other laugh (and also me) it's great.

2. Friends that fall in love get me almost every time, especially if they've been friends since childhood.  There's just something about it that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like finally they realize they are perfect for each other!

3. Banter a la Much Ado About Nothing is so fun to read.  Whenever the whit and humor come into play, I know it's going to be a good relationship. (even when they won't admit it to themselves!)

4. The slow burn/sexual tension is probably one of my favorites.  If there's a point in which I'm yelling at my book for the characters to kiss already, then it's usually a good thing.  I enjoy the anguish and denial of characters feelings for one another.

5. I love reading about the adorably awkward characters that fall in love.  People see themselves as people and fall in love with the quirks and oddities.


1.  I'm not a huge fan of smut and most of the time if I know it's in a book, I'll skip it.

2. Miscommunication is one of the most frustrating things in real life and it's even more frustrating when I can't do anything about it because I'm reading pages of a book.

3. Love triangles are about the most frustrating invention in the world of literature.  Under rare circumstances, they can be useful for plot movement, but most of the time I want to rip my hair out of my head when they happen. (BUT sometimes I love them.)

4. Insta-love is probably one of the most irritating things that can happen because I don't honestly believe that that's an actual thing.  I get infatuation and lust and attraction, but I don't think people just fall in all consuming love with out ever talking to one another.  A relationship has to form first.

5. Anything that feels non-consensual is BAD.  Let me repeat that.  I don't want to read a book that makes abuse a cute or adorable thing.  I don't want people reading a book and thinking that it's okay to act and react like non-consensual touching or anything else is acceptable.  BECAUSE IT'S NOT.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Notable Quotable: Paulo Coelho (#65)

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to be better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."
     -- The Alchemist

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#28)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Worst Death:

Every death in this series was a horrible death, even the villains.  However, there is one that just kills me every single time.  Fred Weasley.  He was so young, so full of life.  Every time I read the books and Fred says something about his future, I break out into tears.  He felt like my older brother and he actually reminds me of my older brother.   I can't help but think of the pain that the Weasley family has suffered from the war.  They are my family too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: I Can't Believe I Haven't Read These

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Selection by Kiera Cass (and accompanying series) - I've been thinking about starting this series for a very long time and I feel like I'm one of the few people who haven't read it yet.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I've been meaning to read this since I first heard about it.  It seems that anyone who's heard about Rainbow Rowell has read this book and I feel the need to be a part of that demographic.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - This is the one classic that I've wanted to read and I just haven't picked up the book.  I don't know why, but I've got no excuse now that I have the book sitting on my book shelf.


4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Book Store by Robin Sloan - I feel like this book has been in every Top Ten and TBR pile I've made for the past year or so.  I just need to finally read it.

5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer -  When this came out as a movie, I didn't watch it because I was certain I was going to read it that year.  Well, years have come and gone and I have not read it yet.  I feel like a broke a promise to myself, so it's going to happen.  I will read it...eventually.

6. Civil War by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell - This comic.  I've wanted to read it since I became a fan of the comics.  But I've also had no interest in watching my favorite characters fall apart.  Now I own it and it seems inevitable that I will read it.

7. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs - It's been sitting on my shelf since I bought it early last year and I was so excited to read it when it first came out.  I don't know why it got pushed aside!

8. Watership Down by Richard Adams - Years ago my 7th grade English teacher told me to read this book and it seems right up my alley, but I've never read it.  I really can't believe I haven't.

9. The Young Elites by Marie Lu - I know this hasn't been out for very long, but I absolutely loved the Legend trilogy and I can't believe I haven't read this yet.  Marie Lu is a fantastic writer!

10. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book when it came out and now it's sitting on my shelf unread.  I'm sure part of me is hoping it won't be anything like Rowling's other non-Harry Potter book.

Monday, February 2, 2015

February TBR: Challenge Jump Start

It's (still) a new year, which means there are new challenges to face, new obstacles to overcome, and new books to read!  I thought it would be a good idea to get a jump start on some of the challenges I'm doing this year because there are a lot of them.  Each of these books fit into one or more of the challenges.  Some I own, some I'll borrow and some I'll buy because you can never have enough books. :)

Currently Reading
  • My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten 

Possible Candidates
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqcueline Kelly (New)
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law (New)
  • Matilda by Roald Dohl (TBR)
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (TBR)
  • War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (TBR)
  • Splintered by A.G Howard (Ecl.)
  • Lady Susan by Jane Austen (Ecl.) (Full)
  • Floyd and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (New)
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Full)
  • Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (Full)

Book Club
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

New Releases
  • Beastkeeper by Cat Hillisen (February 3)
  • The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (February 10)
  • Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly (February 10)
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (February 10)
  • The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (February 24)

(Ecl.) = Eclectic Reader Challenge
(New) = Newbery Reading Challenge
(Full) = Full House Reading Challenge
(TBR) = 2015 TBR Pile Challenge
(ABC) = Alphabet Soup Challenge
(Ult.) = Teenreads Ultimate Reading