Friday, November 28, 2014

Notable Quotable: Neil Gaiman (#56)

"Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either.  Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing.  Inside, they look just like they always have.  Like they did when they were your age.  Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups.  Not one, in the whole wide world."
     --The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#18)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

How do you feel about the HP film cast? Are there any that don't fit the image I had?

I always had a clear picture of the characters when I was reading them.  Most of the kids were almost identical to how I imagined them, if not spot on.  There were some obvious physical differences, but the characterization and acting were spot on.  The only kid I thought didn't seem to fit was Ginny.  Bonnie Wright didn't get much screen time, but in the later movies she didn't seem to be the Ginny I know and love from the books.

The only other character that I thought was poorly cast was Sirius Black.  Gary Oldman is an excellent actor and he did well as Sirius, but he just wasn't the right age.  Yes, years in Azkaban can age a man, but he was only 34 when he escaped.  He was still very young.  Actually, most of the Marauder's era people seemed to be a little older than they were supposed to be.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Silver Linings Playbook

by Matthew Quick
published: Sarah Crichton, 2008
pages: 289

Pat Peeples believes that life is actually a movie produced and directed by God and when bad things happen to him, he knows that God is punishing him.  However, silver linings are what he lives for and the silver lining to his life is that God will provide Pat's happy ending and all he needs to do is get physically fit and emotionally literate so that his wife, Nikki, will love him again.  Now after several years in a mental facility, he has returned home to his parents and begins to build his life once more, but is he ready for the stress and is involved the real world.

This story tracks Pat who has a pretty serious mental illness, which includes amnesia of the incident that required him to go to "the bad place".  There is quite a lot of insight into the mind of someone who has a mental illness because we see everything from Pat's point of view.  He's got a fixation with Nikki and making himself better for her.  Pat's way of thinking is skewed, which makes for a very interesting and unintentionally funny read.  At the beginning, it feels as though a 10-year-old boy is telling the story, but as we get to see more of Pat, there's an understanding of how he thinks about and copes with the world.

The relationships between the characters in this novel are key to understand them.   Each character in this book tells their own story, we see them from Pat's point of view.  He tends to categorize people by their marriages and how he perceives them.  For instance, Ronnie and Veronica's marriage seems to be okay, except for the fact that Veronica controls Ronnie all the time.   And his parents have a dysfunctional relationship, but he sees everything because he lives with them.  Pat's entire goal in life is to be a better husband, so he looks at the marriages around him for examples of how to or how not to act.   He works hard at being kind, not right and he's practicing on the people in his life so when "apart time" ends he will be an expert for Nikki.

There is a chapter in this book called "My Movie Montage" and it's quite possibly my favorite chapter of the entire book.  As the title suggests, it's a movie montage but in written form: enough said.

Matthew Quick proves again to be an excellent story teller, crafting intriguing characters and following them on a journey of self-discovery.  I am eager read more his work in the future.

Stars: 5/5


"Matthew Quick has created quite the heartbreaker of a novel in The Silver Linings Playbook."
      --Kirkus Review

"You don't have to be a Philadelphia Eagles' fan to appreciate talented newcomer Matthew Quick's page-turning paean to the power of hope over experience - the belief that this will all work out somehow, despite the long odds that life deals us.  Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut."
     --Justin Cronin, PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of Mary and O'Neil

Eclectic Reader Challenge 2014 book.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins
2. Splintered by A.G. Howard
3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
4. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
5. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
6. Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison
7. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
8. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
9. Persuasion by Jane Austen
10. The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

Friday, November 21, 2014

Notable Quotable: Louisa May Alcott (#55)

"It seems as if I could do anything when I'm in a passion.  I get so savage, I could hurt anyone and enjoy it. "
     -- Little Women

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#17)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

I missed the week we talked about Luna, so I'm going to use this week to share my favorite Luna moments.

When I first thought about Luna and all the amazing things she's done and what she stands for, the moment that stands out to me isn't what you'd normally expect to hear.  The moment I love so much is when Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit the Lovegood house in Deathly Hallows and they see Luna's room while they're "waiting" for her.  They see the mural of themselves on her wall with the word friends written on it.

This moment gets me every time. She's not even in the scene, but it's what it mean to her that makes the moment I love so much.  She was the out cast, the oddity that no one really got, or cared to get, but then she found some people who wanted to take that time to get to know her.  Those were the people she called friends, and she loved it so much that she gave herself a daily reminder that she was loved by friends and that the people she cared for cared for her back.

I'm not saying that Luna not giving a damn about what other people think isn't one of the best qualities someone can have.  And Luna embodies that so well, but knowing that people who don't give a damn also care about other people is huge.  There's this idea that people who don't care what other people think are awesome but hard people with impenetrable walls.  They put these walls up so the words of other don't reach them.  In reality, they are also so vulnerable and that's what Luna is; she is a bad ass, whimsical person, but she is also vulnerable.  This is why I like her so much.  She's got everything, not just a hard exterior.
"Luna had decorated her bedroom ceiling with five beautiful painted faces: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville.  They were not moving as the portraits at Hogwarts moved, but there was a certain magic about the all the same:  Harry thought they breathed.  What appeared to be fine golden chains wove around the picture, linking them together, but after examining them for a minute or so, Harry realized that the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: friends...friends...friends..."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Blood of Olympus

by Rick Riordan
published: Disney-Hyperion Books, 2014
pages: 516

Gaea will rise unless the Greek and Roman demigods work together to stop her and the Giants.  As Nico and Reyna take the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-blood, Jason, Percy and the rest of the crew make their way toward Athens on the Argo II.  Both groups must complete their mission if they wish to stop Gaea from destroying the world.  Will they be able to unite the camps of demigods or will the obstacles prove too great for these heroes of Olympus.

As with all stories, this one had to come to an end.  Honestly, I wasn't getting my hopes up because lots of endings have let me down recently.  But, I needed to know what happened to my favorite demigods and if all hell broke loose.  This also happened to be the first Olympus book I had to wait for and it was an extremely long wait!  After having the entire series back to back, I knew it would be irritating, but I did not expect to like this series as much as I did.

There were plenty of voices to finish telling this story, which can be difficult if each voice isn't distinct enough to tell the difference between them.  In this book, each character's voice was unique and defined.  I loved seeing the story play out through everyone's eyes because each demigod saw things slightly different.  It allowed for characters to have moments with each other without having the entire crew present, which was crucial since there are nine or so main characters.  Even though each character didn't get even page time, I'm okay with that.  This is possibly my favorite part of these books, the storytelling from all the different points of view.

My biggest annoyance with this story is the climax seemed to be over too soon, like the entire series was building up to this potential fight with Gaea and then it was done.  I won't say much more because of spoilers, but I wished there had been more here.

Rick Riordan seems to be the master of greek and roman god storytelling.  I fell in love with the characters from the first Percy Jackson book and read steadily until the very end.  These characters will always have a spot in my heart. Well done Mr. Riordan, well done.

Stars: 4/5


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait To Get!

This list will be a combination of sequels I own but haven't read yet and sequels I'm dying to get my hands on.  I'm hoping to have another sequel theme month for reading in the near future so this list is a great way for me to get organized for that. 

1. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs - So I have this one and it's been sitting on my shelf for a good long while, since it came out.  However, I haven't read it yet so I'm thinking it's about time to read it.

2. The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater - The first book in this quartet was very good and somewhere between reading that book and others, two more have come out.  I need to read these soon, I loved that world and want to get back into it with Blue and the boys.  
3. Winter by Marissa Meyer - Okay, this one hasn't come out yet, but it's supposed to make an appearance on bookshelves late 2015.  This one I must have as soon as possible.  I am so excited to read the conclusion of this series.  I need to know what happens to my favorite characters!

4. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - I've talked about this book on several occasions and I still haven't gotten it!  I loved Perkins other books and I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. (At this point, I'm hoping Santa brings it to me this year.) ;)

5. The Kill Order by James Dashner - I cannot seem to get enough of this world right now.  I've just finished reading the trilogy to find out that this book exists.  While it's not technically a sequel, a prequel also works in my book.  

6.  The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham - So this book, I guess, isn't really a sequel, but one could argue that it's a sequel to the movie, so I'm putting it on my list.  I am always reminded just how awesome Kristen Bell and Veronica Mars are and this most recent reminder has me want more of this world.  

7. Unhinged and Ensnared by A.G. Howard - Is is cool to want to read a sequel that I haven't actually read the first book of yet?  Yeah?  Good, because I do.  I want this book so bad, mostly so I can read them both back to back without interruption.  Plus the cover is gorgeous! (Update: Apparently the third book is coming out in January so adding that to this list.)

8. Twice Upon A Marigold by Jean Farris - It has just occurred to me that I read Once Upon A Marigold in middle school and loved it, but I've never read the sequel.  So that has to change.  As a matter of fact, this might be the next book I read.

9. Independent Study and Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau - I've given myself a small break from this series but I'm at the point where I really want to know what's going to happen to these characters and where the stories going to go.  I'm going to pick them up soon.

10. Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray - This series kind of got put on the back burner but I'm dying to know what happens next in Gemma's life!

11. Curtsies & Conspiracies and Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger - Until recently, I didn't know the third book in this series had come out, so naturally these sequels have been on my mind.  I loved the world in this series and I want to dive back in. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Notable Quotable: Rick Riordan (#54)

"Some pain shouldn't be wished away so easily. It had to be dealt with, even embraced."
     -- The Blood of Olympus

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#16)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Which Weasley character would you be?

Okay so here's the deal, I know which Weasley character I would want to be.  There are two choices, Ginny and Fred (minus the whole being dead bit.)  These two are strong independent characters that make me excited whenever they come into a scene.

Ginny might have been a bit awkward and embarrassed around Harry when she was younger, but she had her own group of friends and really came into her own as she grew older.  Plus a lot of the embarrassing stuff took guts that I didn't have as an 11 and 12 year old.

Fred's humor was always well timed and he was constantly up to something.  Plus, his (along with George's) ingenuity brought forth a lifetime of fun and tricks for others as well.  I'm not that funny and let's face it my self-motivation could use a bit of a kick.

So while I'd love to be either one of these characters, I think I'm going to have to say I'm a lot like Arthur.  I'm fascinated with new concepts, especially when I don't understand them.  I love to learn how things work, why things work.  Arthur's that way with muggle society and that's something I've always loved about him.  He's not afraid to defend his friends and family and in fact he's willing to risk a lot to keep them safe.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Every Day

by David Levithan
published: Knopf, 2012
pages: 322

A wakes up everyday in a different body and lives their life for a day and then goes to bed.  That's how he's lived life and he's come to terms with it.  Until one day A wakes up in a body and Rhiannon.  After that, all the rules he's lived his life by change.   A makes decision to find a way to be with her every day for the rest of his life, but it's not as easy as he hopes.

The concept is incredibly unique and unlike anything I'd ever heard of.  The idea of this book is great. I loved thinking about the possibilities of someone jumping from body to body each day, dealing with whatever comes their way.  It's a cool concept but it's also slightly unnerving.  A's been hopping around since as long as he can remember, what an isolated and lonely life to live.

One thing I particularly liked about A was that while he inhabited each body, he tried to keep their life on path, for the most part.  A didn't go around doing whatever he wanted, he generally lived their lives the way the would have, and in some cases may have made decisions that they wouldn't have made themselves, to help.  A could have been the kind of person to take advantage of the day to day life, but he isn't.  (Although, he forgets for a while.)

I found myself being very frustrated with several of the characters because of their indecision and their judgement.  I did not like the obsessive nature in which A goes about figuring out how far he is from Rhiannon every day and whether or not it would cause too much a problem to see her.  I wanted everything to work out, but at the same time it was unsettling to think that A essentially used other people for his own purposes, something that before Rhiannon he tried very hard not to do.  There's no way around it because doesn't have his own body, but it's weird.  Unless A found a way to stay, he and Rhiannon would never figure it out.

However, I loved the ending of this book.  It was very poetic, apropos, in the true to the storytelling of David Levithan. A story like this needed a good ending and Levithan gave it one.

Stars: 3/5


"Fresh, unique, funny and achingly honest...I didn't just read this book-I inhaled it."
     --Jodi Picoult

"Levithan's self-conscious, analytical style marries perfectly with the plot.  His musings on love, longing and human nature knit seamlessly with A's journey....An awe-inspiring, thought-provoking reminder that love reachers beyond physical appearances or gender."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"An irrisistible premise...Those familiar with Levithan's earlier work will not be a bit surprised to learn that his latest is beautifully written...a study in style, an exercise in imagination, and an opportunity for readers themselves to occupy another life, that of A himself."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Character I Wish Had Their Own Book

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Newt and Minho (The Maze Runner) - I would love to see a story surrounding the time before Thomas showed up in the Glade.  That would be most excellent!

2. Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter) - I said it before but I want to know what happened at Hogwarts while the trio was off searching for the Horocruxes.  I have a feeling Neville would be the central character for that, as well as Ginny and Luna.  Other than that, I would love to get a look at Neville's life growing up.  What we know of his story is so powerful, I want to know more!

3. Metias Iparis (Legend) - I thought he was a great character and even though we got some of his back story from June's side of the story, but I would love to see Metias during his schooling and his promising rise in the military.

4. Tyson (Percy Jackson) - It's no secret that I love this series and all the characters in general. I think it would be fun to see a story that follow Tyson on his adventures.  He pops up everywhere and I just think it would be at the very least incredibly entertaining to see what that cyclops was up to.

5. Lettie (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) - Ocean was such an interesting story and Lettie's part in it was mysterious and seemingly unbelievable.  I would love more of her story either before or after Oceans is fine with me.  She's just a character that deserves more page time.

6. Boo Radley (To Kill A Mockingbird) - I would love to read his side of the story.  Get to see more about him and how he works.  I love him and he's barely in the story, at least physically.

7. Iko (Cinder) - That little robot is wonderful and sassy.  I would love an entire book surrounded around her and how she survived in the Linh household or even if she got out and had an adventure or her own.

8. Callum, Stephen and Boo (The Name of the Star) - I know we get their back stories, but I would love an entire book dedicated to each of them.  Before they became part of the Shades of London, they had a life, it would be interesting to read about them.

9. The Mad Hatter (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) - I love all the background information we are getting from tv shows these days, but I would love a book completely dedicated to the Mad Hatter.  I want to know why he went mad, what he was like before he went mad and how he grew up.

10. Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings) - He's been in quite a lot of stories, but we've never gotten a story that has this wizard adventuring for himself.  I bet growing up he was very similar to Biblo, until someone took him on a journey.  I'd love to read that!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Notable Quotable: Neil Gaiman (#53)

"I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else."
     --The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Death Cure

by James Dashner
published: Delacorte Press, 2011
pages: 325

In this last installment, Thomas and the other survivors are fed up with WICKED and it's games.  It has taken everything from them, their life, memories and friends.  Thomas, Minho and Newt decide to take a stand and when they do whatever is necessary to beat WICKED once and for all, the danger gets worse.  They trust no one but themselves.  The time for lies is over.  The time for answers is now.

I oscillated between loving this book and hating this book.  Sometimes I wanted it to go on forever and other times I just wanted it to end.  There were quite a few moments during this book where I just wanted to put it down and wash my hands of this trilogy.  I wanted alternate endings, a plot twist that revealed all the characters from the three book alive and well.  However, my requests were not granted which left me with a heart full of feelings.

It was very easy to get attached to the characters in the series and I loved learning more about them as I read the books.  All of the characters to some degree are relatable, maybe not as a whole but there was an aspect in each character that help me understand where they were coming from.  That's one of the best thing about these books and in particular The Death Cure.  I wanted everyone to win. Even part of me wanted the bad guys to win, not because they deserved to win but because their goals ultimately were for the greater good of humanity, they just happened to be going about it the wrong way.

The humanity in this book breaks characters, but moves the story along quite nicely.  I wasn't sure how this book would end and I wasn't really sure I would like how it ended.  When the ending came, it left me grieving for those we'd lost along the way and hopeful for the future.

As is with any trilogy these days, it's hard to end on a satisfying note.  James Dashner pulled this trilogy off nicely and gave hope for the future of his characters.  I look forward to reading anything her writes in the future.

[Edit: I hear that he's writing a prequel to this trilogy!]

4/5 Stars


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

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

"Breathlesss, cinematic action."
     --Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Book I Want to Reread

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I've been going through a kick of reread childhood favorites, so this topic is perfect for me!

1.  The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - I always love rereading these books (no surprises here).  There's always something there that I didn't catch the previous time that I read it.  I love this series.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - This is absolutely one of my favorite books and I love reading and rereading this book.  It's about time to do it again, seeing as I haven't read it in a couple of years.

3. The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger - I read this one a while ago and remember loving it, but I'd like to read it again to see if I still like it now.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I've read each book separately several times each, but I've only ever read the series as a whole once.  It would be nice to reread it.

5. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - I loved this book growing up and I haven't read it in ages, it's about time I remember why I loved it so much.

6. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo - I love this little mouse and the way Kate DiCamillo writes.  I will read this book again and again and when I have kids, I will read it to them.  It's a magical book and I love it.

7. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - I haven't reread this one since it came out, but it's a good time to reread this book.  I'm ready for the emotions that come with it.

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - I love this book and I tell everyone that I love this book, but it's been so long since I've last read it that I can't remember exactly why I love this book.  It's time to reread it and fall in love all over again.

9. Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu - I really enjoyed reading this trilogy the last couple of years.  It's been one of my favorite trilogies, and I'd love to dig back into that world and experience all over again.

10. The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander - I remember loving this book.  I was obsessed with the old Russian monarchy, Rasputin, the lost princess and the assassination of the last Tsar.  I read as much as I could on that subject when I was younger.  That's how I came across this book and I would love to reread it in the near future.