Friday, January 29, 2016

Notable Quotable: Libba Bray (#110)

"You must remember, my dear lady, the most important rule of any successful illusion: First, the people must want to believe in it." 
     --The Sweet Far Thing

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#74)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

What do you think your best subject would be? Not necessarily your favorite but the one you think you'd be best at.

I'd probably be best at Transfiguration or Defense Against the Dark Arts.  I'm pretty much a hands on learner, which is great for both subjects (depending on who's teaching). I also pick up concepts quickly, though it would take me some practice to get it right.  But I'm all about practicing when it really interests me, so I be all set there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

All The Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr
published: Scribner, 2014
pages: 530

Marie-Laure is a French girl living in Paris with her father.  When she goes blind, he helps her figure out how to get around.  Werner is a German boy who is destined to go work in a coal mines that killed his father.  Both sets of lives are uprooted when World War II begins and they are forced to move from their homes either to flee the Nazis or to join their ranks.  Their unlikely stories converge in a small town by the sea.

This is a World War II novel, but it's unlike most WWII novels.  It tells the stories that aren't often talked about; there's an account of what it's like to live in a German occupied city.  It also depicts the brainwashing of German children, being bred to defend the Reich.  "What's good for the Fuhrer is good for us."  There's also a narrative about the art acquisition for Hitler's mecca museum.  In fact, we only hear a tiny bit about the Holocaust.  It's definitely alluded to, but it's not the main point of this story.  All these things makes this topic feel brand new.

It's a war story from the view of two children.  Marie-Laure, a French girl who is blind, and Werner, a German orphan who happens to be a radio expert.  The distinction between the two characters, aside from the obvious, comes from the elegant and lyrical writing.  The small details make all the difference.  When Werner tells the story, there are physical descriptions, but when Marie-Laure tells the story, the only physical description we get is one of her and that's because she asks somebody to tell her what she looks like.  Marie-Laure's descriptions are more like tangible emotions.

It's really a character study in a time when people weren't thought of as individuals. I found myself rooting for most everyone; characters from both the French and German side.  I tried not to get my hopes up because, being a WWII novel, I knew everything wouldn't be alright in the end.  No one lives through something like that and is 'alright'.  Those experiences change and mold people into someone else.

The time line in this novel is not linear.  It moves back and forth in the characters lives, beginning in Saint-Malo late in the war.  Then it moves back in time to introduce Marie-Laure and Werner just before the beginning of the war.  The jumps in time make this story even more compelling.  The bits of information that are revealed in the present timeline, invites the reader to ask questions about how the characters get in their current situations.

Anthony Doerr's incredible storytelling makes this story come right off the pages, breathing life in words.  It reminds us to "open your eyes and see what you can see with them before they close forever." I will definitely be looking up his other works in the future.

Stars: 5/5

"This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece, its many threads coming together so perfectly.  Doerr's writing and imagery are stunning.  It's been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion."
     --Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone

"A tender exporation of this world;s paradoxes: the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them, the frailty and the resilience of the human heart, the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time.  The language is as expertly crafted as the master locksmith's models in the story, and the settings as intricately evoked.  A compelling and uplifting novel.
     --M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans

A Full House Reading Challenge 2016 book.
A Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2016 book.
An Alphabet Soup Challenge 2016 book.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Sibling Stories

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Here's to all the siblings that I've read about!

1. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - The sibling relationship in this book is so touching.  You've got three kids; one with cancer, one born to serve as a DNA donation center, and one that is largely overlooked.  It's so saddening to see how they interact and love each other.

2. Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - These three siblings have no one but themselves to rely on.  All the adults in their lives seem to mess everything up.  Klaus, Violet and Sunny humorously navigate through incredibly unfortunate circumstances and somehow seem to keep their sanity.

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling - The Weasley's are an amazing family and I can't skip them when talking about siblings!  Order of the Phoenix showcases their love for each other and their great interactions.  This is the book where we see Ginny come into her own and her brothers acknowledge that.  Fred and George begin to soar on their own, and Bill and Charlie fight the good fight.  Ron has Ginny's back, even if he thinks she shouldn't be kissing anyone.  Aside from Percy, they are all protective of each other and  fiercely loyal.

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Kath and Wren are twins and that's a whole different dynamic than being just siblings. There seems to be a connection with twins. This book showcases what happens when siblings grow apart and have different interests.

5. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall - Sisters that love adventure always get in trouble together, but they laugh together and protect each other too. I love these siblings; the three girls are just meant to be making mischief.

6. The End Games by T. Michael Martin - I love the relationship between Michael and his younger brother.  Their age difference is fairly large but that doesn't mean they don't care for each other.  Michael does his very best to make Patrick comfortable in a zombie ridden world.  That's brotherly love at it's finest.

7. Sister's Grimm by Michael Buckley - These two detectives in the making have a fairly typical relationship.  They love each other, but the younger drives the older insane! It's nice to see a dynamic where it is clear they love each other but it is also clear that they don't always get along.

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - This seems like the quintessential sibling story, so I had to put it on this list.  There is no fiercer sibling love than that of the March sisters. They are all so different and sometimes very annoying, but they love each other with such outspoken encouragement.  I loved reading their story.

9. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - Aside from the weird sibling scare in this book, the Lightwoods are a great pair.  I like how they interact and encourage each other without being over the top.  They are not afraid to put each other in check either.

10. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle - Meg goes to crazytown and back to get her little brother.  She knows he's incredibly smart, but she also knows that he needs his older sister.  I really enjoy them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Notable Quotable: Brian Selznick (#109)

"I address you all tonight for who you truly are: wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians. You are the true dreamers." 
     --The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#73)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Would you rather have potions with Snape or tea with Umbridge?

I would rather have potions with Snape, hands down.  Snape is a vindictive, petty man who has held a grudge for far to long.  Umbridge is a crazy violent woman, who like to see others in pain for the fun of it. Snape may be misguided and mean, but Umbridge is evil for the sake of it.

Plus, I think I'd enjoy learning potions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Recently Added to my TBR

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So a lot of the books I've just added to my TBR are books that are coming out in 2016.  And since I already have lists about those books, I'm going to focus on books that I've added that aren't being released in 2016.  Coincidentally, lots of them are graphic novels, so there will be quite a few of them on here.

1. Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe - I read the first volume last month and loved it!  I cannot wait to continue with these characters.

2. Fables Vol. 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham - I also read the first volume of this series last month and I am all over it.  I love fairytales and retellings of all sorts and this one is no exception.  I've just discovered that there are quite a few of these volumes, so I'll be reading this for a while.

3. Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian Vaughan - I really enjoyed Young Avengers and this is another group of young heroes in the Marvel Universe.  I can't wait to dive into this series and see what happen. (Plus, I'm pretty sure there's a crossover with the Young Avengers!)

4. Wytches Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder - This was recommended to me recently and I thought I would give it a try.  I have been warned that it is frightening though!  She told me she stopped reading it at night about half way through. I will most certainly stick to that advice.

5. The Joker by Brian Azzarello - A friend told me to read this, that this was one of the best Joker stories ever told.  I love a good Joker story, so I'm going to give it a try.

6. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis - This story looks so intriguing.  Apparently, I've been really interested in creepy concepts recently.  This one is about a girl in an asylum and she doesn't have her voice.  That alone makes me want to read it.

7. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley - I got this book recently and it sounds so good!  It's about the Bronte siblings and the inspiration for their writing.  It sounds like there's going to be some magical realism in it too.  I love the concept of that!

8. Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong - This book looks like it's going to be a fun read.  It's full of charts and graphs about comics and a guide to tackling some of the biggest titles.

9. Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan - I've always liked Batman, and the concept of this series sounds awesome!  I'd love to be in an academy in Gotham.  There's sure to be mischief.

10. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 by Alan Moore - I loved this movie, although I know it wasn't received well.  I love the characters and their origins.  I would love to read the series that inspired the movie.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Fandom Mashup (#17)

Hosted by Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Micheline has come up with a great idea and I can't pass up the opportunity to participate.  Each week Micheline will pose a unique fiction scenario and I will choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to help me with the situation.  It's going to be quite fun, I can already tell!

Scenario: You've decided to start a band - you know, because you rock and it's time the whole world knew it!  Which characters do you want in your band?

Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim VS the World) - Okay, so he might not actually be great, but there's a good chance he can rock the bass. I mean, he tried to win a bass battle after all!  (And when he didn't he tricked the other guy into drinking half and half.)  Who doesn't want that kind of talent in their band?!


 Dewey Finn (School of Rock) - I cannot possible have a band without Dewey Finn.  He's the heart and soul of rock and roll.  He'll be one of our song writers, vocalists, and our guitarist.  Plus, we'll have an awesome group of followers from the get go.  Who wouldn't love to have him.  Although, I may need to remind him about paying bills and being on time.

Animal (The Muppets) - He's the best drummer we're ever going to get.  Plus, he's kind of adorable.  He could double as our band mascot too.

Mia Hall (If I Stay by Gayle Forman) - Strings make every song more beautiful. I love them! Mia would be the heart of our group. Her world class cello playing would make our music powerful. She'd bring new emotions and life to the band's music.  It would be amazing!

Ronnie Miller (The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks) - And we need a pianist.  I know she refused to play for a long time, but she's just a bit rusty.  And her rusty is better than I will ever be, so she's made the cut.  Plus, she writes her own music and is good at collaborating.  What more could you want in a band member!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#72)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Which character would you be stranded on an island with?

Luna Lovegood without a doubt.  I love her and she would definitely figure out a way to make it less painful to be stranded.  She'd find use for all the island goods and we'd definitely end up search for lots of rare creatures.  This would be fantastic.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases I Didn't Get To

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Okay, so there are way more than just 10 books released in 2015 that I meant to read.  Some of these I'd even preordered and then didn't get to.  I'm going to try and pair it down to 10 that I really wanted to read.  Here we go.

1. The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer - This one sounded so interesting.  I've always been interested in cemeteries but had never read a book with one in it.  This book was high on my list.  I don't know what happened.

2. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - After a year of so many books, I just didn't get to it.  I got this book for Christmas though, so I've got no excuse anymore.

3. The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury - This one was going to be so good and then I didn't read it.  There are so many books in the world!

4. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia - The concept of this book sounds so interesting and I really like the cover, but I didn't get to it.  I didn't use the library that much this year, so that greatly hinders the amount of new books I get to read.

5. Rook by Sharon Cameron - Okay, so I preordered this book, which means I had no excuse.  However, I somehow managed not to read it.  (Are you seeing the pattern?)

6. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis - I didn't know this book existed until I received it in an OwlCrate box but it looks so good.  It's definitely going to be read in 2016.

7. Soundless by Richelle Mead - I also got this one in an OwlCrate box and didn't get around to it.  I love getting books every month, but they sure do pile up!

8. Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - This just didn't pan out, but it's relatively new still and I'm working on it!

9. The Rose Society by Marie Lu - I had some issues with sequels this year, and I just didn't get to so many of them.  This unfortunately was one of them.

10. Ice Like Fire by Sarah Raasch - See above book.

11. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab - V.E. Schwab has just been put on the back burner altogether in 2015.  I was going to read so many of her books, but never fear, 2016 will be her year.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fandom Mashup (#16)

Hosted by Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Micheline has come up with a great idea and I can't pass up the opportunity to participate.  Each week Micheline will pose a unique fiction scenario and I will choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to help me with the situation.  It's going to be quite fun, I can already tell!

Scenario: With your team of villains poised to take over, you're going to need all the help you can get - and then some!  Who are your pick of heroes to save the Universe?

1. Harry Potter - He obviously has to be on this list seeing as he's the only one destined to destroy Voldemort.  It's kind of important that he be there to fight.

2. Rey (Star Wars) - (potential spoiler for the Force Awakens!) I could have had Luke here in the mix, but somehow I think Rey would do just as well, if not better.  She's spent her entire life looking after herself and the force is strong in her.  She would be just fine, plus there wouldn't be that weird father/son relationship moment to take into account.

3. The Hulk (Marvel) - I'm sure other people could take care of Loki, but I love how the Hulk takes care of him in the first Avengers movie.  So I'm totally okay with the complete takedown of Loki, the puny god.

4. The Rat Queens (Rat Queens) - This is a complete cheat, but I love these ladies and they are a team.  It's how it works, all or nothing.  They may not actually be heroes and they may have unorthodox methods, but they get the job done.  They would be able to help take out these villains no problem.

5.  Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) - She might not have any supernatural abilities, but she's got it under control.  Cinder works really well with a crew and this group of heroes will definitely be the crew she needs.  She can use her cyborg aspects to help locate and take on the villains.  They are sure to win.