Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ten Book Challenge!

Thanks to
for tagging me for this fun tag!
Oh my god. Izzy tagged me in this almost two months ago. I didn't forget about it but I blame work and the fact that I got this crazy cold for no reason. Seriously, this cold was insane. I've never slept so much in one day ever. It just knocked me out. Then work, then Blood of Olympus.  The world basically stopped for me in anticipation for and during my reading of BoO and then, of course, I proceeded to get into a post-Percy Jackson-era reading slump which bummed me out. AND THEN Blogger randomly decided it wouldn't let me post properly anymore. I figured it out though.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I wholeheartedly apologize to Izzy for taking so ridiculously long to complete this lovely tag.  The rules of this tag are simple just list ten books that have stayed with you in some way without thinking too much about your choices then copy the rules and tag some friends. Don't forget to comment below so I can read your list!

1. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - I read this book for the first time when I was nine after my mom insisted that I read it. I,  of course, having been a normal nine year old, did not want to just because my mom said I should. Because why would a book that my mom read when she was younger be cool, right? Needless to say, I am so glad that I mom made me read it. The Outsiders has been one of my favorite books ever since and I've read it far too many times to count. I've actually gone through two different copies of it because I gave my first copy away to someone who needed to remember to "stay gold."

2. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - This is the first book I ever read to have taken the feels stick and whacked me so hard with it that I just couldn't anymore. Oh my god. All the things that happened in it and WILL HERONDALE!!!! The epilogue killed me. Like it took my silly little heart and just said, "Hahaha I will crush you." It was perfect though. A few too many happy endings but so, so perfect.

3. The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce - The Realms of the Gods was the final book in my all-time favorite Tamora Pierce Tortall Quartet. I just love Daine and Numair. They were my original OTP enough so that my eleven year old self wrote a really, really, really bad fanfiction based on them. But, yes, The Immortals Quartet was just my favorite growing up. Aside from Harry Potter, it was Tamora Pierce that really got me into reading and it was because of her that I tossed my parents' hopes and dreams of me becoming a doctor away and decided I wanted to be a YA fantasy writer. 

4. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan - This particular Percy Jackson book was the one that truly got me hooked into the series. I read this series for the first time last January. As a twenty-something year old reading PJO, I thought the first too books were too kid-ish for me but then this book happened. I'm not really sure what it was about The Titan's Curse that really hooked me but after reading this one, I officially jumped aboard the Percy Jackson bandwagon.
5. Old Magic by Marianne Curley - This book was a first for me in a lot of ways. One, it was the first book I ever read that dealt with time travel. Two, it was the first book I ever read written in first-person, present tense with two alternating POVs. And three, it was the first book I ever read that was not set in the US - rather, it's set in Australia (as are all of Marianne Curely's books, I think. I haven't read her most recent ones.) I think that's the part that intrigued me most about Old Magic. To my silly American self, Australia is an exotic place of wonder and awesomeness that New Jersey just isn't. This is another one of those books that I read over and over almost to the point of my copy falling apart.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - This is the first book I ever read that made me go, "wow, that was really beautiful" as soon as I finished it. At first I actually didn't like The Night Circus. It took me a while to get into it, but suddenly the gorgeous imagery and writing took over and I couldn't help but keep reading. I definitely need to reread this one at some point.
7. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien - It's no secret that I love anything related to Lord of the Rings. Of all the books in the LOTR world, The Hobbit is most definitely my favorite. I read it for the first time when I took a LOTR class in college - yes, you heard me right. I took a Lord of the Rings class in college and it was marvelous. I've reread The Hobbit a few times since then and I'm already itching for another reread. Have to prepare for the last movie ever of course. 

8. The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman - This book is the only book to ever make me cry. TFIOS didn't even bring me close but this book got me. That ending! It was for the greater good though. I love Lyra and Will so much. Aside from that though there are just so many great ideas in this book. If I could choose, Pullman's idea of being returned to the earth after death, with your daemon of course, is what I'd want to happen.

As it's Thursday, let us pause in this post topic for an appropriate Throwback Thursday musing because when you happen to be in Oxford, England you must make this appropriately bookish side trip:

That's right! Lyra and Will's bench is real! I've sat in it!

Aaand we're back...

9. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson - Okay, new game. Take a shot any time I mention this book on this blog then call out of work/skip school tomorrow but you will not be in suitable condition to function in public. Seriously though, I love every aspect about this book. It was without a doubt my favorite book I read this year. Everything the imagery, the gorgeous writing, the characters - just everything about this book was absolutely wonderful.  
10. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling - Really, what kind of list would this be if Harry Potter wasn't on it? Harry Potter was my childhood. It was one of the reasons why I love reading. It was such an epic experience to grow up with these books and almost literally being the same age as Harry every time a new book came out. And J.K. Rowling is such an amazing human being. She's one of my favorite people ever. 

    Thank you again to Izzy for tagging me in this great post! And I'm sorry again that it took me forever to do it. As it's been a long time since I was tagged, I won't tag anyone back but if you're interested in doing this tag, do let me know so I can read your list or if you've already done this tag, link your post to me. I love lists! I want to read them all!

    Sunday, November 2, 2014

    Mini Reviews!!

    Hello everyone!! I'm finally officially crawling out of my Blood of Olympus hole because spoilers, duh. I got my copy a week late but it's signed and so pretty!! Outside of BoO, it's been a fairly slow reading month for me. I was so excited for Blood of Olympus that I found I couldn't really concentrate on reading other things properly. Though I did try. I'll be doing a book review/discussion of BoO soon but until then Mini Reviews for the only other two books I've read recently. I know I'm awful. Wait! I did read The Revenge of Seven (and I reviewed it - what??) - so that's three other books I've read in the past two months. I've basically given up on my reading challenge for that year but that's for a different post. Anyway, I digress... Maze Runner by James Dashner
    My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    I read The Maze Runner some time in September I think. I know I wanted to read it before I saw the movie - though I guess it didn't matter much when I read it since I still haven't seen the movie. Honestly, I think this will be one of those rare times when I end up liking the movie better than the book. It wasn't that it was a bad book per say, I think I was just expecting more out of it. It just had such a slow beginning then nothing really happened until about three quarters into the book. I get that Thomas had lost his memory and therefore couldn't be a supremely amazing narrator but he was so caught up on his annoyance with the other Gladers not telling him anything and his frustration with his own memory loss that he was kind of annoying. Of course, both of those are a big deal and worthy of frustration but I feel like too much time was spent with him dwelling on them. Like, I didn't need to read about it every other paragraph. He was also a bit of a Mary/Gary Sue character. I also felt like the relationships between the characters weren't developed enough - particularly between Thomas and Chuck - so when things finally did start happening, it was sort of just like, "oh ok, that just happened to this character... moving on." I also, didn't really love the slang. I mean, it grew on me as I continued reading but most of the time, I didn't really enjoy it. Right now, I'm on the fence about reading The Scorch Trails. On one hand, I want to know what happens to them, but at the same time, I'm not sold enough on the characters or overall story arc to be wholeheartedly interested. It's bookish blasphemy but I might just stick to watching the movies if they continue them.
    The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    [Note: For some reason, this book has also been published under the completely different (but semi-more fitting) title of The Memory Collector.]

    This book... this book. I think I might have loved it but kinda, sorta, not really...? It left me feeling confused for the most part but also kind of okay with being confused but again - not really..? It's definitely the kind of book that I should read again but I don't really want to. Just like Tiger Lily by JLA - which I have been raving about ever since I read it earlier this year - the best part about this book is without a doubt the writing (though the cover it pretty fantastic too). JLA's writing is just so, so beautiful and poetic though if I had to choose, her writing in Tiger Lily is even more beautiful. One thing you need to know about The Vanishing Season before you read it is: don't believe the back cover or front flap to give a proper premise of this book. I thought when I picked it up it would be a paranormal murder mystery type deal - basically, perfect to get in the Halloween mood. But no. There is a ghost and a house that may or may not be haunted and a serial killer but the main storyline doesn't follow any of that at all. All those things are basically secondary to the main plotline which is a contemporary love triangle between three friends in a small town. Well, the ghost plays a pretty big part but not in the way that I thought. For the most part, nothing happens in just about 230 of the approximately 250 pages. It's literally just the happenings between three friends, Maggie, Pauline, and Liam, in a small town where there have been murders but the murders aren't a huge deal to the friends. It's definitely the writing that kept me reading. I'm not really sure if my rating is based on what I expected the book to be because of the way it was promoted or if it's because it actually deserves a 3.5 rating. Hence, my aforementioned confusion. But then again, I couldn't really figure out what it was about as a whole as in, what was the purpose of the ghost, why was it watching Maggie, Pauline, and Liam, and why oh why did it end that way? I think in about a year or two after my memory of the details have faded a bit I might read it again with a fresh mindset but until then, I'll stick to my rating.
    So have you read any of these? If so, what were your thoughts? And have you ever experienced reading a book that was badly promoted? How did that affect your reading of it? I want to know!
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