Thursday, April 30, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#38)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Character you wish you could erase:

Right off the top of my head I would erase Lucius Malfoy because man is he one of the most annoying characters in this series.  I mean, he really provides nothing but mayhem wherever he goes including to his own family.  He screws up and Voldemort puts Draco's life in peril as punishment.  He puts the Tom's diary into Ginny's books, he's the reason for quite a bit of Draco's idiocy and all of his 'My father will hear about this!' cries.

I mean Narcissa is not innocent of Draco's awful and arrogant upbringing but in the end she chose her son over Voldemort so at least she's got a redeeming factor there.  Lucius is a product of irritation and intolerance.  He's not even a good villain.  He whimpers and gets caught and he's constantly talking about how great his family is; it's like he's the Lockhart of the Harry Potter Villains.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins
published: Riverhead Books, 2015
pages: 336

Rachel takes the same train everyday and she passes by the same nice suburban houses and families.  She's even given names to some of the people she see regularly.  They remind her of the life she once had.  But what happens when those people become more than just passing glances in her life?  Rachel see something shocking and decides to go to the police with the information.  But in her attempt to do good could she possibly be making things worse not only for them, but for her as well?

One of the reasons this book is so suspenseful is that the narrators are all unreliable.  You never know if what they are telling you is true or how that truth is distorted.  None of them have the whole truth.  The reader gets the whole truth only because we are allowed to draw conclusions from three different points of view.  I loved that you couldn't trust anyone.  That's one of my favorite things about this book.

It was, however, a relatively slow read for me.  I felt like there was a quite a bit of slog before the action really hit.  For about two thirds of the book I was wondering when we would hit the main action of the book.  This was the biggest let down for me.  I would have liked to see the action hit a bit sooner in the story.  I love slow burn novels and tension building but it was almost too slow.  I was hooked just enough to need to finish to find out "who done it".

The characters kept me going.  I really enjoyed the different character perspectives and learning information through their perspectives.  I loved not being told specific characteristics about the characters but rather figuring out aspects of their life based on their actions and interactions with other people.  There's nothing more satisfying when the gears start to click in place and you realize that one of the characters has a problem and another isn't being honest with themselves. (This is really vague because I didn't want to give out specific examples.  That would ruin the fun for others.)

Overall, Paula Hawkins has an incredibly suspenseful novel that will capture the attention of those that love a good psychological thriller.

Stars: 3.5/5


"Like the train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages."
     --The Boston Globe

"The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl... [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership."
     --The New York Times

"Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Which Feature Musical Characters

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I love a good book about music and people who are musically inclined.  It doesn't matter if that's the central point of the story or just a beautiful side note.  I love imagining the music coming from the books.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling (The Sorting Hat) - This series features the sorting hat which sings a little song every year at the beginning of the school year.  Every year the hat sings a new song, as long as Hogwarts has been open the sorting hat never sang the same song twice.  I love it!

2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Mia and Adam) - We get two very different musicians in this book.  I absolutely love how passionate Mia is about her cello and I love how devoted Adam is to his guitar and his band.  The power of music and how it moves people is running through this novel.

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Park) - While Park isn't in the traditional sense musically gifted, he does has a passion for music that extents to knowing what people (Eleanor) will like before they know it.  Someone who devotes that much time to music surely deserves a spot on this list.

4. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Dutchy) - How Dutchy found his way to playing the piano and loving it is amazing.  I love that when life wasn't great he had something he loved to turn to.  I can just imagine how great a piano player he must be.

5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Simon) - Simon is in a band, which I immediately love.  I'm not sure how good they actually are but he's in a band nonetheless.  It's probably one of my favorite things about Simon.

6. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Grover) - This satyr has a set of pipes that are supposed to lull just about anyone.  While it's clear that Grover isn't the most talented satyr, it's still great that he has this ability.  It's hilarious on more than one occasion and has served him well.

7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Tiny Cooper) - Tiny Cooper may not play any instruments but he wrote an entire musical about his life and man, oh man, it is amazing!

8. Guitar Notes by Mary Amato (Tripp and Lyla) - This is another one of those cello and guitar stories, but it doesn't make it any less unique.  I love that their passion for music bonds them together and challenges each other.

9. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (The dwarves) - I think most of the races in Middle Earth are musically inclined but I love that the dwarves have epic poems and songs that tell their history.  It's a beautiful way to record the past.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Hans Hubermann) - He has an accordion that he loves to play and it's not a typical instrument.  I love it.  He plays it because he enjoys it, but he also plays it to calm others down in tense and terrifying moments.  I love that he uses his gift to help others!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Notable Quotable: Marie Lu (#72)

"My mother used to hope that I would rise up from my humble roots.  Become someone successful, or even famous.  I'm famous all right, but I don't think it's what she had in mind." 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#37)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Character you wished you invented:

I think it's probably a tie between Peeves and Luna.  Here's why.

Peeves is crazy and hilarious and just the right amount of crude to be annoying and yet endearing.  He knows where his loyalties lie and even though he doesn't often show it he will protect Hogwarts and the students in it when it comes down to it.  His respect is hard to earn, but when people do it's an amazing thing.  I love that he messes not only with the students but with the professors as well.  I think it's hysterical that he's just a crazy character.

Luna is the person I wish I could be.  She is incredibly secure in who she is and how quirky she is.  Yes, she doesn't have many friends but the ones she does have are the truest of friends.  She's so odd and hilarious and yet she speaks wisdom and truth from her strangeness.  Harry and company find a friend in her because they are able to see that she is more than her quirks.  She is brave and stubborn and determined and thoughtful and kind and beautiful and loyal and joyful and optimistic.  Luna is the kind of person, everyone should hope to be like.

These characters are so complexed, it's amazing.  I hope that some of my characters turn out to be as great.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eleanor & Park

by Rainbow Rowell
published: St. Martin's Press, 2013
pages: 328

Eleanor meets Park on her first day of school when he saves her from the nightmare that is the school bus.  Despite the fact that they didn't talk, they manage to bond and form a relationship that is tested in every possible way.  Eleanor is radiant and defiant and Park is observant and methodical and they are both gliding through life, flying under the radar.  Will real life bring them together or tear them completely apart?

I absolutely could not put this book down.  I was sucked in from the very beginning by the incredible characters.  Eleanor and Park are enchantingly odd characters that you can't help but love.

My heart goes out to both Eleanor and Park for their different living situations, their joys and grievances.  They each deal uniquely with hard situations  and their relationship becomes their solace.  The story being told is not only their love story but the story of their growth as people in an environment that isn't always nurturing.

I've been complaining lately about parents being almost nonexistent in books, but in this book not only are the parents present but they are vibrant and essential characters.  They act like actual parents, which is so much better than shell parent characters.  They give and deny permission, punish and reward based on behavior and they prove to be an essential part of this story.

The ending of this book is incredible, like mind shattering, dangerous and wonderful.  There is so much tension and anxiety surrounding it and the actual ending is perfectly realistic and not at all wrapped nicely in a little bow.  I think that's one of the reasons I love this book so much.  It felt authentic like I was reading about someone's actual life.

Rainbow Rowell once again makes me feel very strongly about fictional characters in the best way.  I love her writing and I love this story.  I cannot wait to get my hands on more of her work.

Stars 5/5


"Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark."
     --Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"Funny, hopeful, foulmouthed, sexy and tear-jerking, this winning romance will captivate teen and adult readers alike."
     --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship Eleanor and Park develop is urgent and breathtaking and, of course, heartbreaking, too."

An Alphabet Soup Challenge Book.
A 2015 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge book.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

These are not in any particular order, but I feel like I talk about these authors all the time! (which would make sense because they are my favorite.)

1. J.K. Rowling - Duh.

2. Lemony Snicket - Growing up he was one of my favorite authors and the fact that he inserted himself into the Unfortunate Events.  I haven't read his other series but I love him!

3. Marissa Meyer -  I LOVE her fairytale retelling series and everything she's written is beautiful and clever and amazing and she was quickly added to my list last year.  I cannot wait to finish The Lunar Chronicles and anything she writes in the future.

4. Rainbow Rowell - She has recently joined the ranks of my all time favorite authors because I can't get enough of her writing.  I believe there are only two of her books that I haven't read but that will be rectified soon.

5. John Green - I have mad respect for this author and I can go back to his books again and again.  He knows how to make me cry and feel deeply, I love that about his writing.

6. Marie Lu - I love her storytelling and her characters.  She wrote a trilogy that finished strong and I love that!  She's definitely high on my list of all time favorite authors. I cannot wait to read her next series.

7. Kate DiCamillo - I love all her books, every single one of them.  She has a way of telling stories and dealing with hard topics and beautifully writes not only for kids but for everyone who loves a good story.

8. Harper Lee - She may be publishing a book this summer, but she once said that she only had one story to share and she did and that was enough for her.  I love how confident she was in herself and her abilities.  She was genuinely writing for herself.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#36)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Favorite book mentioned in the books:

I would probably have to say Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander.  This mostly because I've always loved the magical beast in the Harry Potter series itself so knowing that someone went looking for them all is amazing. Not only did they find all of these beasts but they put together this book rating their dangerousness on a scale, it makes me really happy.  Knowing also that I can read it, is great too.
And that little thing about it being made into a trilogy of movies penned by J.K. Rowling is something too... just saying.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler

by E.L. Konigsburg
published: Antheneum Books, 1967
pages: 162

Claudia Kincaid decides that she is not appreciated in her family so she plots to runaway.  However, she doesn't just want to runaway, she wants to go somewhere comfortable, somewhere where her fine tastes are appreciated.  That's why she chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  She convinces her younger brother, Jamie, to go along with her.  But when they get to their new safe haven, they discover a mystery that is too tempting to pass up.  Claudia is determined to discover whether or not the new sculpture is in fact a Michelangelo original, and she's willing to take whatever step necessary.

This book is most every kids dream!  I know I thought it would be amazing to spend the night in a museum, an amusement park, or even Disney World.  I love being able to experience that sensation and cleverness through Claudia and Jamie.  At the very least it's great fun!

I thought the parents were oddly missing from this book.  Granted, we see the story from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler's point of view and she doesn't know how the parents were reacting other than what was in the papers.  (I mean the kids didn't know either.) I do think that there would have been more about the parents freaking out.  Two of their kids ran away for an entire week.  That's a long time everyone!  If I had kids I'd be riding the crazy train by then.  The fact that Mrs. Frankweiler was so calm when the kids visit her and didn't immediately take them back to their parents is mind-boggling.

This book had a very interesting narrator which we no relatively nothing about.  All we really know is that Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler gave the museum a sculpture that may or may not be a Michelangelo original and her home is big and beautiful.  She doesn't have any living family and her organization is specific to her incredible mind.  Yet, she is kind and sassy and firm with the kids without being oppressive or meddlesome.  Her voice is matter of fact, but there is a sense that she cares for the kids while recounting their adventure.  I love how understated Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is in this entire book.

This book won a Newbery Award for a reason and I'm glad I decided to pick it up!

Stars: 4/5 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational Quotes from books

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I have a quote most weeks that reflect this challenge.  I'll probably use some of them here but I'll make some of these new ones. Also, my quotes sort of swerved away from the inspirational side and just went to plain meaningful.

"There are all kinds of courage.  It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."
     - Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling)

"Let us learn to show friendship for a man when he is alive and after he is dead." 
     - Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

"People sometimes make unexpected choices when they are lonely.
     - Mr. Penderwick (The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall)

"What I say and what I mean is two different things.
     - The BFG (The BFG by Roald Dahl)

"Life is not a PG feel-good movie.  Real life often ends badly.  Literature tries to document the reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly." 
     - Pat (The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick)

"It's not hard to own something.  Or everything.  You just have to know that it's yours and then be willing to let it go.
     - (Stardust by Neil Gaiman)

"Growing up, I took most my cues from books.  They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave.  They were my teachers and my advisers.
      - The nameless boy (The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane by Neil Gaiman)

"There are moments that you'll remember for the rest of your life and there are moments that you think you will remember for the rest of your life, and it's not often they turn out to be the same moment."
     - Puck (The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater)

"Mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth." 
     - Dr. Erland (Cinder by Marissa Meyer)

"Each day means a new twenty-four hours.  Each day means everything's possible again.  You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.
      - Day (Legend by Marie Lu)


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#35)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

What would your Animagus form be?

Without a doubt I would be something cool like an Owl.  I could get where I needed to with those wings and I'd be the coolest animal out there.  Or I could be something fierce like a wolf.  I could protect those that needed help.  Either of those two animals would be amazing Animagus.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd like to see later

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. June and Day (Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu) - Without giving any spoilers about how this trilogy ends, I'd love to see what they are up to 10 years down the line.  Where they have found themselves, what they are doing.  

2. Eleanor & Park (Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell) - I would love to see them a couple years down the way, what happened to both of them, how their relationship works out, how their style changes (is that last part weird?) 

3. Wren (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) - I would love to see her graduate college and whether or not she's still writing fanfiction.  It would be so awesome to see her transition from fanfiction to her own novels, and how see how she would react to people writing fanfiction about her work.  

4. Stargirl (Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli) - I know there's a sequel, but I haven't read it yet.  I would love to know what happened to Stargirl and if she stayed as beautiful a spirit as she was in the book.  

5. The Entire Gang (Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan) - I would love to see where everyone from these books end up 10 years down the road.  Do they have kids, who got married, is Percy still wonderfully sarcastic?  I just want a mini reunion of sorts. 

6. R (Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion) - I don't want to spoil this one either but I'd love to see where R is 5 years down the line.  I'm interested to see how he's doing, transitioning to his life. 

7. Dumbledore's Army: Ron, Harry, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Luna... okay everyone. (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling) - What I wouldn't give to know more about them.  How they coped after the war and growing into their adult lives.  I know Rowling has given us some information regard all that in interviews and Pottermore, but I'm greedy and would love a comprehensive conversation with the characters.  

8. Scipio (The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke) - I would love to see how Scipio is adjusting to his new life after the book.  I'd love to know more about how he's getting around and what he has planned to do about his situation. 

9. Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee) - I love Scout and it would be amazing to see her as a young woman trying to make her mark on the world.  And until recently, I thought I would never know more about her, but thanks to Harper Lee herself, the world will know more! (However skeptical the surrounds of the new book might be.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April TBR: People's Choice

This theme is a bit tricky but I'm going to go with it.  I have chosen several people to go to my book shelf and pick out books for me to read.  In these moments, I know which books I'm hoping they pick and which ones I'm praying they skip over.  It really makes you aware of which books you don't want to read.  Anyway, the people have spoken and I will attempt to read some of these books.  Hopefully I won't get distracted. 

Currently Reading
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Possible Candidates
  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (ABC)
  • Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (Ecl.)
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law (ABC)
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (TBR)
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Ecl.)
  • Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  • Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt (TBR)
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (ABC) 
  • Matched by Ally Condie (TBR)

Book Club

  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

New Releases
  • Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein (April 21)
  • Rook by Sharon Cameron (April 28)

(Ecl.) = Eclectic Reader Challenge
(New) = Newbery Reading Challenge
(Full) = Full House Reading Challenge
(TBR) = 2015 TBR Pile Challenge
(ABC) = Alphabet Soup Challenge
(Ult.) = Teenreads Ultimate Reading