Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New year, new books!

As I've said many, many times, Fannie Flagg is one of my favorite authors. It's not just because she writes a fantastic, twisting plot that keeps you attentive or because her characters are real and fully fleshed-out - it's also because she writes about things that matter. Her newest book, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion is about women in the workplace in the 40s during World War II and how that affected girls then and also now.
Fannie Flagg ran two stories parallel from one another in this book, which really was fascinating as it began to come together. One story follows Fritzi and her family in the 40s, trying to get by through the war and the other story follows Mrs. Sookie Poole in present day Alabama, a 60-year old woman who finds out she is adopted, though her mother has never told her. 

I would have thought that Fannie Flagg's newer books would pale in comparison with my favorite older ones like Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, but it's just not true. The story is just as interesting, and the characters are ones that you grow to love. Her last one, I Still Dream of You is hysterical and is well worth the read, too!

I recently read Holly Black's Doll Bones. I have to preface this review with the fact that I absolutely ADORE anything that Holly Black has ever written. If you haven't read Holly Black, get your hands on Tithe or her new one The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

That being said, Doll Bones was a creepy adventure following three kids intent on burying the china doll to give her a "proper burial".  Since I'm a complete baby with creepy stories and movies, this book did give me a few nightmares. It was still a fun story from start to finish, with some eerie moments that will make your hair stand on end. 

Also, am I the only one who thinks that Neil Gaiman and Holly Black should write a book/movie/play together?

And speaking of Neil Gaiman, I read his new children's book (I work in the Children's Room at a library, which is why I read all of these) Fortunately, the Milk
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorites for many reasons - mainly because he makes the weird into the normal in his stories. This one was a laugh-out-loud read and a quick one. It seemed like the perfect before-bedtime story. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something I just had to share...

I apologize for no reviews today, however, there is a FASCINATING blog post by Annoyed Librarian (whom I adore). Enjoy the story here - discuss and leave comments when you're finished! My favorite part of the article is this:

"The good news is that there are probably some books on English grammar and maybe even critical thinking in the library that could help people make a coherent proposal without talking about people looking at food stamps on the Internet."

People (usually those in political office) are truly unreal. And libraries > jails. Louisiana seems great (in True Blood mostly) but in real life, these sorts of stories pop up. Sigh.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

9 Books You Should and Shouldn't Read

I've read nine (NINE?!?!) books since my last book review post and I'm about to finish two more, so it's been far too long, I realize that. Thus begins my promise to write at least weekly, so it doesn't get boring around here.

I read Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. I thought it might be a book that I would skim through, but I read it cover to cover, laughing all the way. Not only was it fascinating for me as a twentysomething, but it was very funny and helpful. Some points that Brown made were things that I really connected with (putting the address for where you send your rent on 12 envelopes and pre-stamp them) and have put into practice. Other things I'm moving towards (creating a dinner party for your friends! Super easy only if you know how to cook, I'm pretty sure a dinner party that I gave would turn out a la Bridget Jones). All in all, a fascinating book on how to grow up little by little by making life easier for yourself. I loved it and realized how many things I've already done (amazingly..)

I read Big Brother by Lionel Shriver.(CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT) I didn't like this book quite as much as I thought I would. It was pretty interesting until the giant twist near the end where the reader finds out the entire book is actually just something the main character daydreamed about, which really just made the whole book incredibly anticlimactic and sad. I hate endings like that. (See Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale).

I read (because I watched the ENTIRE show and did so in less than a week because I am the kind of person who eats up Netflix shows like pie at a pie-eating contest where first prize is holy matrimony to Alexander Skarsgard) Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
Loved the show and then I read the book and of course the book is SO much better (are you surprised? I wasn't at all). In the book, Piper isn't quite as crazy/stupid as in the show and she's also not in prison with her ex-lesbian lover, so that makes it much less dramatic in some ways. All in all, the book was a fascinating reflection on just how convoluted and broken our justice system is. (Again, unsurprising, but enlightening to say the least). The book has much less drama than in the show, but of course, the book doesn't need to sell seasons to hungry Netflix viewers.

I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. Incredible book about a smart kid, her intelligent parents and some not-so-intelligent neighbors. Not only is her mother hilarious and witty (which she passes onto her daughter) she also disappears when things in her life go horribly awry. I don't want to give anything away, but I truly enjoyed the characters. Bee and her mother are so fantastically given life, it's incredible.

I read the first volume of The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.
If you know anything about me, it's that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the television show of The Walking Dead (similarly to about a million other Americans) and I've been DYING to read the comics. The first volume did not disappoint and I aim to read the rest ASAP. If you have twenty minutes in your day for reading, read this. It's gory and beautiful and better than the show (obviously).

I read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I have a confession, I saw the movie first. Terrible, I know. But the book was so much better! I hate when movies aren't as gritty as the books and this one took the cake. SPOILER ALERT: I love John Malkovich, but I thought the character's descent into madness in the books was spot on and thus he did deserve to die, but that's just me. SPOILER ALERT ENDED. This book was poetic and that's what I loved about it. The prosy paragraphs waxing philosophical about life. Fantastic.

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love: A Novel by Sarah Butler was a prosy novel (my favorites) and it dealt with memories and relationships (also my favorite subjects). It's told from the point of view of two characters, Alice, a young traveler and Daniel, a homeless man in London. Alice returns from abroad to see her father whose health is failing - her two older sisters are already there caring for him. Alice has always felt a separation from her two sisters and doesn't quite know why. I won't spoil it, but I will say this: I love books that use lists. This book uses a lot of lists and it makes me happy. 

Okay, this was my light read for the month. It's about a wedding and the craziness that, inevitably, surrounds it. What made it interesting (and also very sad) was that the mother of the bride had passed away years before the wedding, but left a notebook filled with all of her wedding advice for her daughter. Of course, the daughter holds it very dearly and wants every aspect of the wedding to be straight from the notebook. Hilderbrand did an incredible job of creating characters that all had interesting relationships with each other. Everyone had an interesting point of view. Again with the relationships, I know, but that's what I like to read! This would be a great beach read (if you're in a warm area of the country...)

I have been waiting to read the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns for ages, now. My coworker advised me not to read this sequel until the third in the trilogy had come out and, amazingly, I kept myself busy with other good books until I could wait no longer. If you haven't read this trilogy yet and you love fantasy, strong female main characters, and badass adventure, pick it up immediately. It's YA, but it's still fantastic. The main character, Elisa, is burdened with the Godstone, a very rare gift of a jewel where her bellybutton should be that connects her with her God. This makes her valuable and under constant threat of kidnapping and killing. Everyone wants the Godstone for himself (or herself) and Elisa is constantly running and/or fighting to keep herself alive. 
If you like YA lit, this is really a fantastic story - and I cannot wait for the third!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Favorite Book of the Year (thus far)

Eleanor and Park 

This book is both heart-wrenching and uplifting at the same time, which has made it one of my favorite books of the year (thus far, of course). Eleanor is teenager, growing up in a very difficult situation (I don't want to spoil anything!) packed into a rundown shack with her mom, stepfather, and several brothers and sisters. 
Park is a boy growing up in a differently difficult situation, however, he has his own room, and his parents are always there for him. The two meet on the bus ride to school. Their attraction for each other grows in such a sweet and tender way that I could not stop reading this book for a second. I loved the parallels drawn between girl and boy, rich and poor, school and home, and mostly between the love and hate that occurs in both Eleanor and Park's lives. 

Also I love the name Rainbow Rowell. Also I cried at the end of this book. That is all.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. My Heart (Spoiler alert, he wins)

I have never seen Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. Since my roommate just bought a special edition of it I thought FINALLY, I can see this movie - but wait! Shouldn't I practice what I preach and read the book first? Yes, yes, of course I should like a good librarian. So I did. All six of them. In three days or something ridiculous like that. (They're quick). They are awesome graphic novels and I loved every second of it.
Not only is Scott Pilgrim hilariously dorky and sweet, but he's also kind of a jerk - but that makes him a more realistic and believable character. If you haven't read them, hop to it. And then watch the movie. (P.S. Bread makes you fat.)

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim, #1)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Twisted Fairy Tales, The Martian Chronicles, Wither

Twisted Fairy Tales
I'm getting better about reading more often. I think it's a combination of being exhausted after waitressing and wanting nothing more than reading for two hours in the peaceful quiet of my own bed and also the beautiful weather outside making me want to soak up some rays while devouring a book. 
I finished Twisted Fairy Tales by Maura McHugh a few days ago in the sun in my backyard. I love creepy fairy tales (also it's YA, quelle surprise) which is why I loved this book. Despite the stories being well known, I think many of the stories were original. The illustrations were also pretty awesome. Many of the stories are classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, but there are lesser known fairy tales, too, which was good, too.
 The Snow White story was exactly like that K-Stew movie that came out a year or so ago, Snow White and the Huntsman, which seemed weird to me.
The only thing that drove me crazy was the editing - I found several typos throughout (but I'm a freak about it).  If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, this is a great book for a beach read.The stories are short, yet creepy enough that you'll find yourself thinking about certain grisly scenes later on.

The Martian Chronicles
 I also just finished The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I know it's a classic, but somehow I just got around to reading it. Previously, my favorite Bradbury book was The Illustrated Man.
I love anything Bradbury writes, so naturally I was sucked right into The Martian Chronicles.  This book is for anyone who loves sci-fi. And Bradbury's choice of details always astounds me. I love the portrayal of the martians as a peaceful people invaded by humans. Every story leaves me wanting more, which I think is the most important thing about a short story.

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)I'm currently reading Wither by Laura DeStefano, which is a YA fluff read for me. I surprisingly haven't even noticed a typo yet. The story is dystopian YA lit (obviously). The plot revolves around Rhine, a sixteen year old girl, who lives in a futuristic America  where men don't live past the age of twenty-five and women only live until the age of twenty due to a viral infection. Because of the sharp decline in the population and because of the massive amounts of doctors who are researching for an antidote to this virus, young, pretty girls are swiped off the streets and sold into wifery by wealthy families. Rhine is one of these girls. Pulled off the street with thirty other girls and chosen with just two others, she is sold to a wealthy family and her new husband (and two sister wives) have to deal with being treated as property.

It's a pretty fascinating premise and I'm loving it. The only problem is that there are three of these books, so now that I'm sucked in, I have two more books to read afterwards. SIGH. This is an issue because I have at least six books waiting at home to be read next.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Personal Librarian

I just found this awesome story at Bookriot.com (excellent source of all things bookish) and I think that's the job I need to have. It's like having a personal shopper, but better because a personal librarian can bring you actual happiness. I would even hand deliver the books if this was a profitable enough business.

So who wants to pay me to pick out books for them now and forevermore? It's my dream job.

Also, I wanted to share this little mentalfloss tidbit! I love going to mentalfloss.com because it always makes me smile and this article is no different.

There are so many words we don't have in English that we should have! I love the French phrase "l'esprit de l'escalier" which mentalfloss translates as "a too-late retort thought of only after departure".   I also loved "Koi No Yokan" the Japanese phrase for "the sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love." Who knew the Japanese were so romantic?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Girls in White Dresses and The Dinner

So first of course I have to begin with apologies for being so lax in updating.. yet again. Excuses don't matter really, but I did go on vacation to Coachella where I saw some incredible bands (I mean OMD, Phoenix, Pretty Lights, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Ros, Social Distortion, Violent Femmes, FOALS, Wu Tang incredible!!) and then I started a new job waitressing. So yay for more money and boo for hardly no time to myself at all. (Also waitressing is hard work and I have more than a few good stories already, which is cool) 
Anyways, I read a few books in that time, which you'll be glad to hear about. 

The DinnerI read The Dinner by Herman Koch. It's an interesting story about two brothers and their sons, revolving around a dinner between the two brothers and their wives at a very posh restaurant in Holland. The book is separated into sections from aperatif to digestif. The details are great and I loved how Herman Koch created and developed his characters. The characters are dynamic, especially our main character. I loved it and I think you will, too. 

Girls in White Dresses

I also just read Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close yesterday. It was such a quick read I finished it in a matter of hours. I was sick on my day off (naturally) and started reading this and just didn't stop. It's much less of a girly book than I thought it would be. I thought it would be light and fluffy and it was not. It dealt with reality and I liked that. Also I felt like the characters in the book could be my own friends, which I always appreciate in any novel. 

I promise I'll update again soon when I finish Twisted Fairy Tales by Maura McHugh!

Friday, April 5, 2013

April books!

I've just finished the book Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman - an incredible and twisted relationship of a story.
Personally, I loved it. Set in the aftermath of WWII in Cape Cod (mostly) it tells a story from five of the characters points of view. The first narrator is Nick, a beautiful, long-legged beauty who is married to Hughes. She struggles with wanting more in her everyday life.
Hughes, Nick's husband, tells his story of when he was away at war.
Helena, Nick's cousin, tells her story of marrying Avery, a "big shot" filmmaker from Hollywood with a creepy past.
I won't go into who the other narrators are so as not to give anything away. What I will say is that not all is perfect in paradise in the 50s. The descriptions are rich. the characters are well developed and the writing makes you feel a part of the story. 
I enjoyed this story so much because it doesn't gloss things over. The problems in the story are real and even dark, though from the cover art, you wouldn't realize that.

Onto brighter things - I'm currently reading a juvenile fiction book called Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. It follows the exploits of an orphan girl aged sixteen during the first world war who is bequeathed a homestead in Montana from her late uncle. Her life has been a constant move from house to house as relatives passed her along, providing a brief home for her - until now. If she can prove up her claim, make a profit from her wheat and flax in the fields, the land left to her will be hers.
It's not going to be as easy for sixteen year old Hattie as she faces all kinds of brutal weather and the joys of owning a stubborn cow and a horse, but she's determined to face these issues head on.

I'm nearly done with this book and I really am enjoying it. Hattie not only faces issues of farming, but also many issues with being very close with a neighboring family, whose father is of German descent. In these World War I times, people of German descent were prosecuted in a horrible fashion and Hattie must stand by her morals amidst arguments of "loyalty" and "patriotism".

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I have a post full of goodness for you. I haven't updated recently (what else is new) but I have read several books that will intrigue you.

My favorite book that I've read so far this year is The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.  I know it's not very far into the year, but this book is incredible.

It follows the story of Elisa, a princess in a fantasy world, who has been chosen to bear the "Godstone". This basically means she has a jewel in place of her belly button that holds great power.

She's a privileged girl and has been sheltered from society because she bears the Godstone - as its power is something everyone in the world wants. People would kill her simply to have it.

It starts off with Elisa being married off to a king (her father's idea) and Elisa being shipped off to the king's country, which is some distance away.

I don't want to say much more about the plot because I don't want to give a single thing away about this fabulous book.

This book has richly drawn characters with true personalities - those personalities are developed well. The characters are dynamic, especially Elisa. The other thing I enjoyed about the book was the portrayal of body image. Elisa is round - and she knows it. It's an obstacle that is dealt with on almost every page because as a princess, she is constantly judged by her people and the people of the king she marries. However, it doesn't mean that she isn't outspoken, tactical and exceptionally intelligent. She is and she grows with that, too.

This book is good for anyone who likes strong heroines, adventures, incredible stories of love, and intrigue. And did I mention it's going to be a trilogy? It made me pretty happy to hear that - and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did, too.

The most recent audiobook I've listened to is Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
If you haven't read/listened to Frank Cottrell Boyce's children's books yet, you simply must. His stories are fantastic, always from the child's point of view, and hilarious. Although it's classified as a children's book, people of any age will enjoy it.

This book focuses on Dylan, a young boy living in a village in Great Britain where the atmosphere is always "dishwater".  He helps his father, mother, little brother and his two sisters to run their failing gas station.
It's gray and quiet in the village and there's not much is going on - until one day a very shiny and expensive car goes up the mountain road right past the gas station. The entire town is immediately abuzz with gossip.

Dylan gets involved with the man driving the shiny car (who stops to get gas) due to a conversation misinterpretation involving the Ninja Turtle characters with famous Renaissance painters. (Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, etc. if you really don't know who the TMNT are).

That is all you need to know about this book. The characters are hilarious, the mixups and misinterpretations are gut-busting and you won't be able to put this book down. Though I highly recommend the audio - especially if you love listening to beautiful English accents.

Okay, so Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding was a guilty pleasure read - but it was SO hilarious. I know that it's not brand new (neither is the movie) but it was enjoyable to say the least.

I don't even like Pride and Prejudice (the plotline of which BJD is based on) but this book kept me laughing through every page.

Honestly, the reason I picked it up and read it was because I read this article at the Washington Post about how "chick-lit" is bad for self-image. They mention BJD and then I realized that I hadn't read it. So, your article about self-image didn't deter me, Washington Post! I ate bonbons the whole way through the book and laughed loudly in public places when I read it, so take that.

(Quick rant: I hate the word "chick-lit". What does that even mean? Anyone can read whatever they want - why do girls specifically get stuck with "chick-lit"? Can't we just read literature and novels like everyone else?)

My favorite part about BJD? The fact that it seems like a continuation of Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal-Snogging by Louise Rennison. (I've written reviews for these books in the past). If Georgia Nicholson grew up, she would be a very similar character to Bridget Jones, which makes me pretty happy.

Another YA book I read was every day by David Levithan. I do adore David Levithan - if you haven't read any of his books, familiarize yourself!
He's written a slew of wonderful YA books that inspire by creating comfortable space for teens. His books give the me hope for the world.

This one was no different.

A wakes up every morning in a new body. He/she/it inhabits the body of a different teen every morning and always has. There is no way to tell why this happens or how. One day A is the quarterback of a highschool football team. The next day A is a suicidal girl. The next day A inhabits the body of a social outcast. The next A is a lesbian girl, madly in love with her girlfriend.
All is "normal" until the one day that A falls in love.

That's all you need to know, really. It's a strange concept, but David Levithan worked it into an incredible story. It changes your perspective, which is important.

I read another YA novel, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs. This book was not my favorite. It's heavy on mythology, which is interesting, but the characters weren't dynamic enough for me.

Basic plotline: High school student and gritty badass of the West Coast Gretchen is a descendant of Medusa and has to take out the monsters in her town with her martial arts training (that no one can see but her) so that they don't harm the innocent folk of California.

Gretchen finds out she has a twin, kidnaps her, doesn't want to tell her everything, but then has to as the streets are becoming more dangerous with more monsters every day.

This book is the beginning of a series, which made me much less interested as soon as I found that out.  Can't a girl read a book that completely tells a story in ONE BOOK anymore??? It drives me nuts, but that's my own thing.

I hope you read one of these and enjoy them! Let me know if you read any and as always, feel free to leave comments.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

History of a Pleasure Seeker

History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason was enchanting. As I read it, I fell in love with the main character. I mean, I really did. (Note the conversation I had with my boyfriend about it at the bottom)

I can actually tell you what it's about. It follows the story of a young man, Piet Barol. It begins with Piet successfully landing a job tutoring a genius young boy, Egbert, from an extremely wealthy family in Amsterdam. 

Piet acquires the position because of his gentlemanly and almost flirtatious manner to the mother Jacobina, who is not only interviewing him, but whose husband hasn't touched her in years. Getting attention from a young, attractive, and well-mannered young gentleman doesn't hurt her impression of this tutor-to-be and she hires him. However, the contract of the tutoring position is that Piet must somehow pull out the reclusiveness of Egbert. Egbert is frightened of the outside world and refuses to leave the house, much to the dismay of his father, mother, and his two clever sisters. The entire family is enchanted with Piet and his urbane ways. 
The daughters are taken with him, the mother is taken with him, the father trusts him, and Piet is gentlemanly, but not quite gentlemanly enough to cast his eyes away when Jacobina stares outwardly at him. 
I loved this book because Piet always finds a way to appease everyone in his suave manner, even from his rough beginnings. It's a lovely story - and it's a bit scandalous, too, which never hurt anybody. 

A Conversation Between My Boyfriend and I While I read History of a Pleasure Seeker One Afternoon
Me: Matt, I think I'm in love with this fictional character. 
Matt: Great.
Me: No... really. He's incredible.
Matt: Oooookay.
Me: No, I'm really, really, REALLY-
Matt (unfazed by my ardor): He's fictional, I'm not worried.
Me: Mmmm. Continues reading furiously

Five stars for this one!

The Brides of Rollrock Island

I ADORED this YA book by Margo Lanagan. She has written other books, too (Tender Morsels, Black Juice, Red Spikes) but this is the only one that I've read. It was incredible, especially if you're a slave to magical realism.

The story is told from several different points of view. From young children, to the ugly Misskaella, to adult men. Misskaella is a girl that grows up on Rollrock Island (an imaginary place set off the coast of what I presume to be Ireland) with magical abilities. She's had a difficult life, growing up ugly and unwanted by nearly everyone in her life, but she can magically pull unearthly beautiful women out of the seals that flock around Rollrock. The men of the island are bewitched by these stunning women and begin to pay Misskaella gobs of money for their very own seal wife. Trouble ensues, of course.

I could not put this book down. It captivated me more with every word that I read. Like any very well written book, it left you wanting more and more. Enjoy - I'm giving it five stars.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year!

So I know I haven't updated in AGES yet again, but it's been a busy month! Now that it's January and there are a million less things to do, I'll be updating much more often - I promise! 
I'd also like to note that I read my goal of 55 books this year and if you want to see them, I'm on Goodreads! You can see all the books I read this past year! 

If you haven't read (or listened to!) The Help I urge you to drop whatever it is that you're doing and visit your local library - or buy it. It is INCREDIBLE. The audiobook is phenomenal and when it ended I nearly cried because the story had filled me up, made me laugh and cry for three full weeks as I drove from work to home, to the grocery store, and to friends houses. This book was my best friend for a while. (My boyfriend became very tired of me going on and on about it every time I talked to some of my friends about books - but he hasn't listened to it yet and he should!) 

In any case, it will pick you up, pull your heart out of your chest, throw it on the ground mercilessly and walk away. But you're going to love that about this book. Just read The Help, it's life changing. Also it's Kathryn Stockett's DEBUT. All I have to say is you go girl! Just amazing. 

I also finished The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. This was about an Amish girl, Katie, getting ready for her Rumspringa (for those of you who don't know this is when Amish kiddos get to go out and explore the world and return whenever they want to or they can stay outside of the Amish for the rest of their lives - big decisions for young folks!)
Just as she's preparing for this exciting time in her life, she's unable to leave because the Elders of the village have decided that it's not safe in the Outside anymore. The Outside world has become a dystopian nightmare and evil creatures (SPOILER ALERT, but not really, vampires!) are roaming the world. Katie becomes even more headstrong than in the past (and she's also pretty pissed that she doesn't get to do her Rumspringa) and helps a hurt young man at the edge of the village one day even though she's forbidden to go near him.

I really liked this young adult novel. It was dystopian (of course), there was a little romance (mostly cheesy, but oh well), and the heroine was an intelligent, yet still believably sixteen year old girl.

It wasn't my favorite book by any means, but I did enjoy it for what it was. It was also pretty graphic for a YA novel. If it bothers you to read about limbs being ripped off and such, this may not be for you.

I'm still reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which I LOVE and I'm starting a few other things. While I was at the library last Friday, not one or two or three books came in for me, but FIVE did. So I need to spend some serious time with my books over the next few weeks. That means more updates and reviews for YOU!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

So I would first like to apologize about not updating for over a month, but in my defense it's been quite a month. Thanksgiving + moving out + my birthday + being sick = not a single blog post in ages!

SO! Book updates! I have been listening to The Help by Kathryn Stockett on audiobook during my commute to work for the past few weeks and it is blowing my mind that A) I haven't read it yet and B) it's so incredible on audiobook! I am recommending the audiobook to everyone and ANYONE. It's amazing. 
Reasons why it is amazing:
1) The narrators are very good. The woman who does Minnie's part is the woman from the movie, Octavia Spencer. The others are very good too. 
2) I laugh out loud.
3) I talk out loud when I get angry at unfolding events.
4) The writing makes me truly care about the characters and what happens to them.
5) THIS IS KATHRYN STOCKETT'S FIRST NOVEL. Can we talk about how incredible that is? 

All in all, if you haven't read/listened to this book you need to immediately. It will make you laugh, cry, and feel sick with how racist people used to be. (I know people still are, too and that makes me even angrier, quite frankly). Get this book at your local library/bookstore STAT!

 I am also reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe as my roommate has the whole series in his bedroom, so I snatched it up and have been devouring it. If you've read the first one, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you will not be disappointed with the next book whatsoever. It's snappy and funny and keeps me guessing because who knows what pleasures/craziness the universe will bring next? No one can tell - except Douglas Adams.

I haven't started The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle quite yet, but I am very excited to give it a go tonight. It's a thriller which is not normally my speed, but it is also a young adult dystopian tale, which always gets me going. The main (and Amish) character Katie is about to go on her Rumspringa, but the town discusses turmoil in the world outside their town. The outside world is a dystopian one and the adults in the town forbid everyone from leaving and coming in. It sounds spooky and wonderful and I will let you know how it goes.

In an unrelated note, the last thing I want to share with all of you is this. Mister Rogers has always been the voice of calm and reason in my childhood, but reading this from Mental Floss (my favorite website as I am a knowledge junkie) makes me feel wonderful. It rings with truth in light of recent and tragic events. 
All we can do is try to be better in life and look up to those who truly deserve it: your parents, your teachers, your friends, and your heroes in the stories you read.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

For the fans of A Song and Ice and Fire series...

So all of you fans of A Game of Thrones are probably sighing because you've finished the series and the HBO show doesn't come back on for several months at least for season three. I have the answer to get you through the winter months.
If you loved A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin I give you The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

Although there are two books, they are NOT a series. So if you feel like stopping after the first one you can. I don't know about you guys, but this really appeals to me as a reader. Especially lately when every single book you pick up is the beginning (or middle) of a series. 
In any case, Pillars of the Earth is a great read. If you like the medieval-esque setting, strong female lead characters, and very evil antagonists, you're going to love this one. 
You won't find any dragons or sorcery in these books, however. It's historical fiction versus fantasy. 
I will warn you, it's a tome - at around 1,000 pages it's very heavy, so get it on your e-reader. (Unless you want a good workout for your arms!)

And then of course, you can go ahead and read the sequel if you so choose. It has some of the same characters, but also some of the grandchildren of the characters from Pillars. I devoured these books my senior year of college, staying up extremely late (4 AM kind of late!) just to finish it after I'd done my homework. The characters from both of these books resonated with me and that was what really pulled me into these rich stories.

And if you find you really love these stories, they've even made a TV show out of Pillars. I watched it and I was happy with it and usually I'm such a purist when it comes to books to big screen conversions.

So I have a list about a mile long of books I want to read. Check it out and please let me know if you have read any of them - the list is never ending!

Two awesome things I have found this week: Secret bookshelf passageways and I LOVE these children's literature inspired bedrooms!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Passing out candy to the kiddos and squeezing in a blog post!

Handing out candy is surprisingly fun. I'm glad it ended up being on a Friday night so that I'm not working!
I've seen some Spidermen, one Spiderwoman, and several Dorothys. And there were also the usual blood-soaked zombies/draculas/grim reapers. I still think my sister had the most original costume when she was a table set with a plate, knife and fork with a side of cheese and grapes. It was pretty amazing.

I started reading this book, This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz the other day. It's raw and real. I love books about relationships and this one draws you right in. The characters are real and well developed. I love it so far. 

I'm still slogging through Abarat: Absolute Midnight which I love but am reading slowly and I'm also slowly reading Breed. I just need a weekend to do nothing but read so I can get through everything!

In other news, this is in my life and I'm very happy about it as you know (or should know) I'm obsessed with LOTR and The Hobbit and anything at all that J.R.R Tolkien created.

What were you for Halloween? 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Handmaid's Tale: Great Until the End

Spoiler Alert will be on throughout this post, just so you know.  Although everyone has already read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood because it came out in 1998 so it hardly matters.

In any case, I was very excited when I read the description for THT. I thought, Great! More teen dystopian lit for 2012! Then I found out it was written in 1998. And then I realized that the story was great until the end which is a complete crap ending.

All in all, I thought it was much like 1984. Which is a book that I adore and respect, obviously as I love dystopian stories. However, this had the same plot as 1984. The initial setup to show how the world works nowadays, the dissenters dreaming of ways to rebel, and the ways that they do rebel. I'm sorry, but after the buildup of this book, after all the ways women are ignored, shunned, and forced into horrible actions, the ending was too abrupt.

It left the reader wondering if she was saved by an underground railroad-esque operation or if she was killed by the government. All in all, I was thoroughly unimpressed. I put in all that time reading up to the annoying, unresolved ending!

Thanks, Margaret Atwood. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, readers!

For the past few weeks, I've been reading a variety of things! In the spirit of Halloween, I'm actually reading a horror story. That's right - the girl who sleeps with a night light every night is reading a HORROR story. It's amazing, too. Cheesy, but amazing - and I'm loving it.
It's entitled Breed by Chase Novak.

I think I enjoy it so much because it's sci-fi horror, really. The basic plot is that Alex and Leslie want to get pregnant and cannot. They have no lack of money (since Alex is from the famous Twisden family) and try everything they can to no avail. Alex refuses to adopt and finally they decide to try one more fertility treatment from a Dr. Kis in Slovenia. Leslie immediately becomes pregnant (with twins no less) after their trip and although Dr. Kis is a weird dude, they go along with his treatments which include getting painful injections of a goby fish (SPOILER ALERT: The doctor fails to realize until it's too late that the goby fish eat their own young - yikes!) 
Fast forward ten years later and the twins are ten years old and are afraid of their parents who have very strange tendencies...
So all in all, I'm very enjoying this animalistic sci-fi. At least for now. 

My little sister (not very little, she's eighteen) is reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, which I'm going to read next. It's about a cyborg, Cinder, who is eighteen and going to a ball. That's all she's told me thus far, but I'm excited to read it next since I'm all about the dystopian teen lit this year apparently. 

Now for a bit of personal stuff - I was able to dress up and be two different characters because I just adore Halloween so much. Last Friday night I was Elle Driver from Kill Bill and Saturday night I was Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones! Note my awesome tattoo that says "Fire and Blood" drawn by my lovely boyfriend (who was Walter White from Breaking Bad!) Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of me being Elle Driver AKA California Mountain Snake because all the pictures that I had were taken AFTER my eye patch broke. Boo. (At least it was only 99 cents at iParty!)

Hope you all have an amazing Halloween! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A few quick things...

So, this is hardly a book review entry but I'm writing it anyways because I feel so dang guilty for not writing in simply ages.
That being said, October is a hell of a busy month. I mean, really, it's like every friend's birthday, Halloween, AND Pumpkin Fest (if you're not from NH, then disregard this bit or just google it if you want to have some fun). It's just a lot of things in 4 weeks. I've been getting loads more hours at the library and started babysitting some real cool kiddos, so I've been preoccupied!

In book news, however, I'm still reading The Handmaid's Tale which = dystopian lit-extremist-feminist-awesomeness that I'm nearly finished with. Also I'm still reading Abarat: Absolute Midnight which is taking ages because it's so dark and as I said before insane busy schedule etc.

Now in other news, this is my new favorite blog because, well, I love Natalie Dee. If you don't know who Natalie Dee is, you should probably just get real comfy at your computer with some snacks because you'll be reading her comics (and probably her husband's too) for hours. End of story.

Also, let's talk Halloween excitement. One of my FAVORITE children's books is Coraline by Neil Gaiman and here is a link to not only Neil Gaiman reading Coraline, but also Lemony Snicket does a chapter and there are more to come, too. Sweet, right?

In other news, I'm obsessed with pumpkins. Bookish pumpkins, mainly. Pumpkins that have characters from all our fave books. Look at them, they are actually incredible.

The best news of this month however is that I'm going to be Daenerys from Game of Thrones for Halloween. So that will be AWESOME. (To tell the truth it was a bit up in the air for a while when I wanted to be Elle from Kill Bill since I finally just saw those movies and am desperately in love now. Obviously).

Sorry again for the laziness, but I feel the links have really made up for it. Disagree? Leave a comment and complain, then.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


October is such a busy month that I've really been slow with reading and also with updating about books I've read! Since I've calmed down from A Dance with Dragons I am finally able to read the third book of Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker.

I first read the book Abarat (2002) when I was thirteen and quickly devoured the second book Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War (2004). These books are set in a fantasy world in which every hour of the day has its own island creating the archipelago called Abarat. Enter Candy Quackenbush from the middle of nowhere, America. She is thrown into the world of the Abarat without knowing why or even how. The stories reveal why she is tied to the Abarat ... in time. There are gorgeous illustrations throughout the book to paint a better picture of some of the more colorful characters for the reader.

So you can imagine my extreme delight when Abarat: Absolute Midnight came out ... SEVEN YEARS LATER in 2011. Of course I'm only getting around to reading it now, but I'm completely engrossed in it already. The third book is gripping and filled with even more beautiful artwork. I love the cover and I love the darkness that this book brings to the story. Evil is afoot in the Abarat.

So I'm already giving it five stars, because halfway through, I'm in love. Try the first one and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 5, 2012

An Entry In Which I Finally Review A Dance With Dragons

I've finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. And now I don't know what to do with my life! The sixth book won't come out until WHO KNOWS WHEN!?!?! SPOILER ALERT below the cover picture.

I just have a few things to say about A Dance With Dragons. Obviously, go Varys for defending the kingdom per usual. Go Daenerys I'm THRILLED that you can fly. Ramsay Bolton and Euron should just marry each other as they are both so evil. And go Jon Snow!!! Storm Winterfell! 
I cannot wait until the next one comes out. That's how I feel about this book: I want the next one. 
Plus, the ending image of Daenerys naked, dirty and covered in blood standing next to her dragon in front of an entire khalasar really doesn't leave you in a good place. Thanks for the cliffhanger, Martin. 


Moving on from one of my most favorite series of all time, we have a very different book, which I just finished yesterday. This follows the story of Silver, ex-rocker ten years divorced, fat, lazy, and single. His eighteen-year-old daughter comes back into his life asking for help and changes the way he sees everything - and so does the fact that he finds out his aorta is torn. 
I loved the way that Jonathan Tropper wrote this - I'll definitely be reading more of his work ASAP. I love his descriptions, his grittiness, and his unwillingness to hold back on the craziness that ensues. 
This is a five-star book. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Favorite Childhood (and Young Adult-y) Book

This is my favorite book. I've read it at least twenty times. It has to have its own blog post because it's THAT good. It's my favorite because it has my favorite themes in it which include:

1) A strong and intelligent female protagonist
2) Difficult obstacles to overcome
3) Fairies, trolls, giants and centaurs (and other cool fantastical beings)
4) A groovy prince who has a good head on his shoulders

So put that stupid Anne Hathaway movie (if you want to call it that) out of your mind. It has nothing to do (AT ALL) with the themes outlined above. Especially the strong and intelligent female protagonist. Thanks a lot Disney for crushing my dreams in 2004. Anne Hathaway, I'm still angry with you and refuse to watch your other movies because of this. Just saying.

And it is my dream, nay, my ultimate life goal to be a producer/director just to make this one book into the beauty that it is. Thank you, Gail Carson Levine - you made my young adulthood so much better with this fabulous book.

So obviously, I highly recommend it, especially if you're looking for a read that will leave you utterly satisfied.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I AM A FEMINIST! (Read the book, you'll understand)

Okay, this is my new favorite book. And I'm only 135 pages in.

I know I can't really officially review it since I'm not finished, but I just have to say that I'm in love with it.
And with Caitlin Moran, too. (Just in case you EVER read this, I think you're a fantastic writer, woman, and feminist!)

On the cover of the book it says, "Caitlin Moran is a feminist heroine for our times" - Zoe Heller. And A to the MEN, Zoe. And truly, she's revolutionary.

The points that Moran makes in her book really resonate with me. Her humor weaves into her arguments, leaving me laughing as I wholeheartedly agree.

I feel that this book is going to be an all-time favorite of mine ... I think it already is.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Post-Apocalyptic Reads!

Right now, post-apocalyptic books and TV series are super popular. Who doesn't like a good survive-off-the-land TV show or book? I LOVE The Walking Dead.  I cannot wait for Season three in October! Anyways... here are two of my favorite post-apocalyptic books:

If you haven't read The Road you really should - and immediately.  It's raw and emotional and will leave you wanting to read it again. The story follows a man and his son as they travel amidst the burnt landscape, trying to remain unseen. It's not a very long book, so you should read it twice. 

On a lighter note, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is another post-apocalyptic (post-Earth, actually) book. This book is full of humor, wit, and aliens of all sorts. Arthur Dent wakes up one morning to find that his house is about to be knocked down so the city can build a new bypass. As he's protesting, his friend Ford Prefect drags him away to the pub and then proceeds to tell him that he is leaving Earth because it's about to be destroyed to make way for an interstellar highway. 
And that's just the first few pages. If you're looking for a humorous read that's full of weirdness and surprises, this one's for you. There are several books that follow, too, so if you like it, you can read the series! 
The movie is also great, with Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman and Mos Def!

In my reading news, I'm STILL reading A Song of Fire and Ice, A Dance With Dragons.  I'm taking it slow since I know that it's the last one there will be for a while. It's so insanely wonderful, though. Things are getting crazy in Westeros and in Meereen, I'll just say that.

The other day I read this book, Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. It was interesting, but all in all, a very light read. Once every few books, I let myself have a guilty-pleasure book. This month, this was it. A young adult novel about a young woman, Laura, who is ordered by her father to marry a man, so the family can be wealthy again. With the death of her dear sister looming over her, Laura's distraught - so when she is contacted by a secret society of Venetian ladies, how can she resist joining for the price of one secret?

A fascinating (yet fluffy) read. I'd call it a beach read if summer wasn't practically over.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Throwbacks from Childhood

I just want to quote Maurice Sendak here: "I don't write for children. I write and somebody says, that's for children."

Children's books are so not just for children. They are real books with real messages. And, yes, a lot of the time there are pictures to go with them.

These are some my favorite picture books. And not just because I enjoyed them as a child. Mostly because when I'm digging through the stacks at work looking for books, I take the time to open these ones and read them for the 239480th time.

I enjoy this book SO much. Chrysanthemum loves her name, but when she goes to school for the first time, her classmates make fun of her. In the end, her teacher (named Delphinium) shows Chrysanthemum, and the class, that it's all right to be different.  

This is one of my favorite stories ever. Cinderella is great and all, but who cares if you're married to a prince if he's vain and boring? Cinder Edna knows what's up. 

This is a story about being just who you are, which is why I love it. Also because it's about a bull named Ferdinand who only wants to sit and smell the roses - he doesn't want to be in the center of a ring at a bullfight. 

I love this book because it's so damn whimsical. Grumpy grandma + spunky kid = giant grandma. Read it for yourself, I can't say any more without discussing it at length.

Miss Rumphius is who I want to be. I want to make the world a more beautiful place. I think this is a very important book for children. Children should of course, think about what their place in the world is and what they would like to do, but they should also consider their surroundings.  It's important to be aware of the mark you leave in this world, even as a young child.