Friday, January 30, 2015

Notable Quotable: Mark Haddon (#64)

"And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery...and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything."
     -- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night -time

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#27)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Best Jokes:

The Weasley Twins have some pretty great practical jokes, but Harry and Ron are very good with sarcasm and little quips.  Peeves was always ready to play some practical jokes on the unsuspecting student.  I love all the humor that fills the pages of these books.  It's going to be hard to pick a single joke, or even a small group of jokes.

I love everything that went on up to and after the twins departed from Hogwarts.  Everyone pitches in to make Umbridge's life more complicated and as uncomfortable as possible.  So many practical jokes and the swamp that the staff just leaves around is great.

"Fred looked around at the assembled students, and at the silent, watchful crowd.  'If anyone fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three, Diagon Alley - Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes,' he said in a loud voice, 'Our new premises!'
'Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they're going to use our products to get rid of this old bat,' added George, pointing at Professor Umbidge."

I especially thought the helpful hints from fellow staff was hysterical.

"A week after Fred and George's departure, Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, 'It unscrews the other way.'" 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

War Horse

by Michael Morpurgo
published: Scholastic, 2007
pages: 165

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful farm horse, is sold off to the army and thrust into the grueling war that tests not only the soldiers he accompanies but himself as well.  Leaving behind a farm boy whom he is determined to see again, Joey bravely marches forth spreading his courage to the soldiers.  Will he survive this devastating war and make it back to his true master or will he get caught up in the war like so many others before him?

This book was very endearing.  I like that it was told from the horse's point of view.  There are lots of stories that feature men gone to war, but we don't often see a book told from someone else's point of view.  Joey gave a unique perspective, offering insight to personal connections he made with soldiers and civilians from both sides.

There were moments when this book read a bit slow, but the pace picked up after a while.  It just seemed to be inconsistent.  There's a natural ebb and flow to the pace of any story and for the most part it was fine, there was just a moment or two when I felt pulled out of the story because it slowed way down.

This story is a story of hope in a moment of utter hopelessness.  World War I was a long war and so many people died fighting.  This book took all of that and laced in a story of loss, hope, survival, friendship and love between a boy and his horse.  One of the reasons this story is beautiful is because it is simply told.  Joey is not on a side of the war, he is just part of it.  Using that, we see the humanity in everyone and not just on winning side.  We see good German men and good British men, and we see bad German men and bad British men.

Michael Morpurgo took a common topic and made it genuinely unique.  I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm going to have to watch the movie now!

Stars: 4/5


"...listeners get a unique and perceptive views of World War I.... And excellent choice for fans of historical fiction."
     --School Library Journal

"Joey's ability to understand the language wherever he is--England, France, Germany--reinforces the novel's antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace."

An Alphabet Soup Challenge Book

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: I'd Love to Read with my Book Club

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I recently started a bookclub and we're reading our third book.  This is the perfect way to think about books for future months!

Some Memoirs
1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - One dysfunctional family should make for an interesting memoir of redemption, love and loyalty.  This one could be a good discussion.

2. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - This isn't exactly a memoir but it is a true story that sounds incredibly interesting.  It would definitely spark a good discussion with the right group of people.

Some Graphics Novels
3. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick - After the movie, I realized that I needed to read this book, but I never got around to it.  Maybe with a book club mandate this would help things.  Also, I'd love to hear what other people think of this book.

4. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan - Recently, I had several people tell me that this was the graphic novel to start and so I think it would be cool to have the book club start this new adventure together.

Some Young Adult
5. Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt - Schmidt has a unique writing style that tends shed light on heavy topics in a way that could lead to some really good discussion.  I'm interested in reading this one.

6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - The concept of this book looks really good, and I'm interested in knowing what other people think about this book as well.

Some Fiction
7. Atonement by Ian McEwan - I've been dying to see this movie, but I won't do it until I read the book.  Maybe we could make this one a book/movie feature.

8. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - I think this book would bring some interesting discussion.  Plus, it's always more fun when you read a book with other people.  And I really want to read this book.

Some Classics
9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - This book seems like it would be a great discussion book, plus my friend Leigh has been telling me to read this one for years.

10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - This is one of those classics that seem to be waiting for a group of people to discuss it and I want my book club to be one of those groups.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Notable Quotable: Lewis Carroll (#63)

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."
     -- Alice in Wonderland

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#26)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Best chill spot:

My first thought is by the lake.  On warm spring days or cool fall days this would probably be my go to spot.  It's a place where I could go and read, or do homework, or just hang out.  It feels a lot like where the Marauder's spent their time outside of class.

The other place I thought about was the room of requirement.  I mean that room could turn into any place I wanted/needed.  That would be amazing.  There has to be someplace to go when it becomes to cold to sit by the water.  It would likely turn into a library of sorts with ladders and secret rooms and enough room for everyone that wants to join me.  Yeah, there's already a library at Hogwarts but it has Madam Pince hush everyone.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


by Rainbow Rowell
published: St. Martin's Griffin, 2013
pages: 433

Cath, like the rest of the world, is a fan of Simon Snow.  She always has been and always will be.  In fact, thousands of people think she is an incredible fan.  Cath and her twin sister, Wren, are going to college and Cath is bringing along the fanfiction she's been writing or two years in anticipation of the last Simon Snow novel.  Wren has decided not to room with Cath, leaving Cath with a surly roommate who has an omnipresent, overly cheery boyfriend and an intimidating world she's not sure she can handle by herself.  Cath is also really good at worrying.  Will she be able to juggle everything or will all her worrying cause her to lose sight of what's really going on and what's important?

I absolutely could not put this book down.  It was hysterical and beautiful and it made me want to start reading fanfiction again.  There's so many layers to this novel it's crazy.  It's a story about a girl who loves a story so she writes fanfaction about that story.  They talk about the fanfiction quite a bit in the story and at the beginning I was curious to know if we'd get to read any of Cath's stories.  And we did! It's great that we actually get to read some of the fanficiton that Cath wrote.

This book places us in a refreshing setting, college.  Most YA I read is set in high school and I don't mind it, but I loved reading about Cath's transition into college.  It can be a hard transition and Cath's college experience feels so real.  Her feelings about going into this big new and scary situation are on par with how I experienced the beginning of of school. She has introverted tendencies and when she builds up a wall about certain things, I completely understand.   I have so much empathy for Cath.   Despite her concerns and all the other stuff going on in her life he manages to make friends even if they don't understand why she writes fanfiction.

All of the characters in this book are incredibly relatable.  I've been in each character's shoes at some point in my college career and that makes me like them all, even when they are being unbelievably irritating and dumb.  One thing I find so entertaining about this book is that fact that Simon Snow feels so much like Harry Potter and Cath feels the same way about Simon Snow as I do about Harry Potter.  That's grounds for many relatable moments.

I was told that I would love Rainbow Rowell and I do, I love her writing and her characters and her stories and how she took an idea and brought it to life with words.  I cannot wait to read her other books!

Stars: 4.5/5


"A deliciously warm-hearted nerd power ballad destined for greatness."
     --New York Journal of Books

"A funny and tender coming-of-age story that's also the story of a writer finding her voice."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Rowell manages to capture both the wildly popular universe of fanfic and the inside of an 18-year-old's head.  Consider me a fangirl of this charming coming-of-age tale."
     --Entertainment Weekly

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015: You heard about the book online
A Alphabet Soup Challenge 
A 2015 Book Blogger Recommendation Book Challenge book. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: I'd Like for My Birthday

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Since my birthday is on Friday, I thought I'd give a list of what I'd love to receive for my birthday.

1. Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - I own Lola but not in the new beautiful cover.  I'd love some hardback with those covers!

2. What It Is by Lynda Berry - This book is absolutely gorgeous.  Every pages is full of illustrations and full color, I could look at it all for days!

3. That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard - The title alone has me intrigued.  The idea of someone joining the circus on purpose or on accident sounds so interesting.

4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - I will want this book even after I have read it.  The cover alone is beautiful, but it's about a bookstore and books and what better than that?

5. Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison - I put this one on my Christmas wish list for the explicit reason that I own the middle three books.  I can't read those until I read the first one.  And I love to have complete series on my shelves.

6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - The only things I've heard about this book are great things.  I've been told it's better not to know anything going into this.

7. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - This book looks so good and it's gotten rave reviews.  I would love to own it.

8. Yes Please by Amy Poehler - I'm on a memoir kick, as in there are a bunch of memoirs that came out this year that I want to get my hands on.  This book is the first in a line of them. She's hilarious so why wouldn't this book also be?

9. Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-up by Grace Helbig - This woman is hysterical and I love her youtube channel.  I love reading, so I'm certain that I will love this book, which is why I want to own it.

10. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris - This man is so funny and from the moment I found out his autobiography was a choose your own adventure,  I knew that I must own it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Notable Quotable: Rainbow Rowell (#62)

"'You've read the books?' 'I've seen the movies.' Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) 'So you haven't read the books.' 'I'm not really a book person.' 'That might be the most idiotic thing you've ever said to me.'"
     -- Fangirl

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#25)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Scariest Moment:

Spiders happen to be one the worst things that grace the planet earth, so one of the things I find most terrifying to read about are spiders.  And there are several skin-crawling moments with spiders in this series.  While this might not be the scariest moment in the series, it's always one that I have to force myself to read again.

Ron didn't speak.  He didn't move.  His eyes were fixed on a point some ten feet above the forest floor, right behind Harry.  His face was livid with terror.
Harry didn't even have time to turn around.  There was a loud clicking noise and suddenly he felt something long and hairy seize him round the middle and lift him off the ground, so that he was hanging facedown.  Struggling, terrified, he heard Fang whimpering and howling - next moment, he was being swept away into the dark trees.

The moment when Harry and Ron get swept away and carried off to see Aragog in Chamber of Secrets for the first time is awful.  I mean, if this had happened to me at the very least I would have severely wet myself, probably faint or worse.  I feel the same way about spiders as Ron does and I could live a thousand years without ever having to deal with one.

The only thing that terrifies me more are snakes and there are plenty of Nagini scene that could have lived without.  The scene at the beginning of Goblet of Fire where Nagini kills Frank Price is awful as is the scene in Deathly Hallows where Nagini wears Bathilda Bagshot and then tries to kill Harry.  These scenes are a person who hates snakes worst nightmare.  I try not to think about them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Isla and the Happily Ever After

by Stephanie Perkins
published: Dutton, 2014
pages: 352

Isla Martin has had a crush on Josh since she first laid eyes on him in their freshman year.  So when she sees him in a cafe the summer before their senior year, she takes a chance and finally talks to him.  This is where their love story starts, but can it last when real life begins to push its way into their fairytale?

I've been waiting for a book that told Josh's story! Josh was one of my favorite characters in Anna and the French Kiss and I'm so glad I got to see so much more of him in this book.  I always liked his artistry but we never saw too much of it in either of the previous books but now that he is one of the central characters, we get to see so much more of his art. 

Isla on the other hand, seems to be incredibly immature.  I get the whole three year crush thing, but the way she reacted to everything seemed a little bit out of place for her age.  (Although, there is some character development in that area.)

I'm going to say it, I've never seen such an incredible display of insta-love.  The way the book plays out, it feels like more should have passed, but it's astonishing the time span in which we're supposed to believe all this happened.  That was the most disappointing thing about this book.

Paris! Again we visit Paris as well as a couple other places in this book.  The descriptions are so vivid and done well for all the cities, however, Barcelona was by far the most vivid city of the book.  It was breathtaking and quirky; I felt the need to jump on a plane so I could experience the city with them.

One of my favorite things about these books is that the characters show up in each others lives.  I was wondering how it would work out this time and I wasn't disappointed.  It's great to see characters I love living their lives outside the view of the main character.  In this particular moment, everyone is together and it's beautiful.

Despite my issues with this book, I really enjoyed reading it.  It gave me good closure to this entire world and cast of characters.  It's safe to say that I will pick up any book that Stephanie Perkins writes.

Stars: 3.5 Stars


"It's hard to imagine a more romantic tale than Isa and the Happily Ever After."
     --Bookpage, teen top pick

"Engaging teen characters with page-turning love lives offer ample vicarious pleasures...A satisfying dose of first love's physical and emotional thralls."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"Realistic characters, spot-on dialogue, and a truly delightful romance make for a novel that will delight the author's fans and win her legions of new ones."
     --School Library Journal, starred review.

An Eclectic Reader 2015 Challenge book
A Full House Reading Challenge 2015: Published in 2014
Alphabet Soup Challenge

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Meant to Read

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I would like to direct you to my list a year ago about the books I was excited for in 2014.  All of those books would be on this list.  Yep, I didn't do a good job of reading books released in 2014.

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - I am shameful that this book is even on this list.  I didn't read it last year, but it was the first book I picked up this year and it was lovely!

2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs - I bought this as soon as it came out and it's been sitting on my shelf for a year now.  I have no excuses.

3. Something Real by Heather Demetrios - This book has been stuck in my head since I discovered it late last year.  I don't know why I haven't read it yet.

4. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphey - I heard so much about this right before it came out and not so much since then.  However, I still want to read it because it sounds very good.

5. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige - Every time I go into a book store, I seem to gravitate to this book, so I have no clue how I don't own it yet, but such is life.  I want to read it, I mean Dorothy's gone crazy and has to be stopped.  Who doesn't want to read that. (edit: I received this for Christmas yay and I am reading it now!)

6. The Young Elites by Marie Lu - I loved her first series and knew that I had to read her next one.  I just don't know why I haven't read it yet.

7. Hexed by Michelle Krys - This book looks so good, but I just haven't found time to read it.  It isn't at my library so I'm going to have to pick it up this year and read it!

8. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones -  This book is about a band of super criminals, x-men meets oceans eleven style.  It sounds so interesting!  It another one of those books that haven't made it into my library's circulation, so I have to buy it so I can read it.

9. My Faire Lady by Laura Wetterson - Anything about the Renaissance Faire is worth a chance.  I love the Renaissance Faire and try to go every year, but I haven't read any books about them.  Unfortunately, this one didn't get read, yet.

10. The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan - This title just sounded like I was in for an epic story of survival.  Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time not reading books published in 2014, so I haven't read it yet.  I'm going to make sure this gets read in 2015.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#24)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Biggest Betrayal:

Probably the most pivotal betrayal in the series is the one between Wormtail and the Potters.  If Wormtail hadn't betrayed the Potters to Voldemort then the series might not have existed the way it exists now.  Lily and James may have died fighting the fight, or with no great significance other than old age.  If it weren't for Wormtail, Harry could have had parents that lived through the war.  He could have grown a boy with no other significance than him being a wizard.  I'd like to believe that that Harry would have chosen the same friends and made the same choices.  This betrayal is the entire reason these books exist and it's heartbreaking.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Big Over Easy

by Jasper Fforde
published: Viking, 2005
pages: 383

Humpty Dumpty has died and it's up to Inspector Jack Spratt and his new partner Mary Mary to figure out if his death was accidental, suicide, or murder.  However, things get a little more difficult when the hero of the police world, Inspector Chymes decides he wants the case.  Spratt has to work creatively to make sure the case stays in his hands.

This book is absolutely ridiculous.  It's references to nursery rhymes and childhood characters are absolutely absurd.  I was so completely entertained by this idea, I kept waiting to see who would show up in the story next.  Mary Mary and Jack Spratt are beautiful main characters that complement each other well.  The idea that these nursery characters could be involved in crime in the aptly named town of Reading is incredibly entertaining.

One of the things I find most entertaining about this book is that these nursery rhyme characters exist in a world side by side with normal humans and aliens that they have beckoned to Earth.  The catch is that the nursery characters don't know that they are nursery characters.  They believe that they are normal humans like everyone else.  So there's this deja vu type feeling they get when they begin to live out their story.  It's hysterical.

After the initial enjoyment of the nursery rhymes turned crimes, it was a bit slow and Mary Mary was more than just a bit annoying.  She was everything a naive newcomer to the crime scene in Reading would expect to be.  She took bait, she blindly followed without questioning, she was as one might say "quite contrary" to everything.   I got seriously annoying with her, but at some point in the novel she had some character growth.  Yay!

Plot takes many many twists and turns as seems only natural for the Nursery Crimes Division and just when you think you know who committed the crime, guess again, the story spirals in a different direction.  This story is entertaining, engaging and all around fun. I don't know why someone hasn't done this before. I will be reading more Jasper Fforde in the future.

Stars: 4/5


"[Jasper Fforde] knows a thing or two about leaping into new's hard not to see what all the enthusiasm is about."
     --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"A wonderfully readable riot... [A] cleverly plotted, magically overstuffed yet amazingly digestible book... This summer's perfect beach read for eggheads."
     --The Wall Street Journal

"As if the Marx brothers were let loose in the children's section of a strange bookstore."
     --USA Today