Friday, May 29, 2015

Notable Quotable: J.K. Rowling (#75)

"Numbing the pain will only make it feel worse when you finally feel it." 
     --Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Becoming Jinn

by Lori Goldstein
published: Feiwel and Friends, 2015
pages: 384

Azra's whole life is turned upside down on her 16th birthday.  She knew it was coming but she had hoped and fought it her entire life.  Now she that she has her powers, Azra is forced to grant the wishes of those around her.  The trick is she doesn't get to choose, the governing body of the Jinn choose for her.  All Azra wants is to be normal and to have normal friends, but she's starting to realize the people she has pushed away her entire life might just be the people who will help her get through becoming Jinn. (<-- Did you see what I did there?)

I really enjoyed reading this book.  I don't think there are many books focused on genies, so when I first heard about this I was all over it!  The plot is interesting.  I love the premise of this story, a hierarchy of genies that determine just who gets to have wishes granted and when they get them granted.  Genies are often depicted with very little character other than they grant wishes.  This book gives us fleshed out genies and their culture.  The characters have motivations and emotions that drive them, they aren't simply brainless wish granting machines.

I initially felt incredibly sad for Azra's predicament and the isolated lifestyle she has had to lead.  I know some of it, okay maybe a lot of it, is of her own making but it struck a chord with me.  I loved the fact that she is rebellious and headstrong, even against things that she can't change.  At the same time, she feels deeply and wants to protect her family and friends in any way possible.  She's definitely a character of flaws, but that's what makes her so relatable and enjoyable.

The other characters in this book are really cool as well.  There are so many characters that were introduced in this book, but they weren't given enough time for much development.  Azra's Jinn sisters are a good example of that.  There are six of them including Azra, but only two of them get much shine time.  I loved what we saw of each character; they each had distinct traits and interests that made them easy to remember and distinguish.  I just wish there was more of them in the book.  I am hopeful that we will see more of them as the series continues!

On that note, I didn't realize this was the beginning of a series so I was slightly confused when there were only about 50 pages left and questions weren't being answered.  On top of that, we were still learning new information.  I like when I get answers to all my questions and that certainly did not happen but I'm okay with it because now I know there is more to this story than just this book.  I am so happy that there is more coming.  I really enjoyed reading about the lives of these characters.

This story has so much potential to grow and I'm looking forward to following all the characters into the rest of this series! (P.S. the cover is way more purple than in this picture and I LOVE it!)

Stars: 3.5/5


"[Azra's] struggles with family and impending adulthood ring true and will likely cultivate a loyal, sequel-hungry audience."

"Through Azra's first-person, present-tense narration, the act of "becoming Jinn" provides a rich metaphor for the potency and frustration of adolescence."

"Becoming Jinn offers everything I adore in a book: a rebellious, snarky heroine, a fresh plot that had me devouring pages, and flourishes of dreamy romance."
     --Anna Banks, New York Times-bestselling author of the Syrena Legacy series

"Becoming Junn is a delightful portrait of what the life of a modern-day genie might be.  Vividly imagined and written with spirit and verve."
     --Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 series

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 book.
An Alphabet Soup Challenge book. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I plan to read on the beach

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I love a good beach read!  I don't generally have a specific genre I save to reading on the beach.  It's generally whatever I'm in the mood for and they often happen to be paperbacks as well.  I don't know.

1. Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman - This one just sounds like it would be a nice quick and fun read.  Something I'd definitely enjoy reading while getting a bit of sun.

2. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - This book seems like something I'd get lost in easily.  I'm always looking for something that won't let me get distracted by other beach-goers.

3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - I can read this book and then decide which people on the beach would make it in the book's world, myself included.  I'm guessing my brother would have a much better shot than me.

4. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill - This book sounds like it's incredibly cute and lighthearted, something to make me smile behind my sunglasses.  Plus the cover is just so bright!

5. Atonement by Ian McEwan - It's not summer without a classic to read on the beach.  A little escape into the past is great for when I put my feet in the sand and want to stay for hours.

6. The 100 by Kass Morgan - What says beach like a little post-apocalyptic story about kids being sent to Earth to fend for themselves? (Or maybe it's just that I've fallen in love with the show and now need to read this trilogy.)  Hey, why not read it on the beach!

7. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - I'm going to put a little mystery in my beach bag this year too.  When I'm not reading this, I can decide which of my fellow beach-goers have committed a crime.

8. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer - Another one of those cute contemporary books that I will fly through on the beach.  And I hear the words jump right off the page in this novel.

9. The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz - Fairytales are always fun to read on the beach, especially if that beach happens to be near Disney!  (Not that I will be going to Disney World anytime soon, but hey a girl can dream!)

10. Landlines by Rainbow Rowell - I imagine reading anything by Rainbow Rowell on the beach would make that experience better.  This just happens to be the Rowell book I plan on reading next!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#40)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

If I were opening up a shop in Diagon Alley what would it be.

Okay so this may be and unimaginative answer, but I think the shop I'd open in Diagon Alley would be the same shop I'd open in the muggle world.  I think I'd open a bookstore/coffee and Bakery.  I'd have open mic nights for aspiring authors, singers, songwriters, poets and the like.  The books would be a mix of muggle and magical and the baked goods would be the best you've ever tasted.  The coffee will be excellent too.  I've always wanted to open something like this for people who need a stage and also love books as much as me.  I'm pretty sure there are passionate wizards and witches who love writing and reading and cookies just as much as muggles.  Just look for the sign that reads: Brennan's Book and Beans (or something to that effect.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein
published: Hyperion, 2013 (originally 2012)
pages: 339

 When a British spy plane crashes in Nazi occupied France, two women (and best friends) are left to fend for themselves.  Only one has a chance at survival; one has been captured by the Gestapo and has been given the choice: reveal her plan or face execution.  She's been given as much paper as necessary to write down her confession and any pertinent information about the British war front.  With each word she writes, she discovers more about herself and her best friend Maddie.  Will the information she gives be enough to save her from the enemy?

Holy crap this book through me for a loop.   It was so cleverly written and masterfully deceitful I couldn't always tell what was fact and what was fiction.   It is a beautiful tale of friendship, war, tragedy, and sacrifice.  The writing was simply amazing!

I loved that there were two strong well rounded female characters telling the story.  Not often do you get a WWII novel where the main characters are women fighting in the war.  Juliet and Maddie are very different but they complemented each other incredibly well and gave a compelling documentation of what was happening.  They felt incredibly real, like I had just met and become friends with them.  They quite literally jumped off the page.

Usually when there are multiple voices telling the story, they alternate in some fashion, but this book was segmented.  The first half, one girl and the second half, the other.  I'd never read a book organized like this before and I was pleased that it didn't throw me off like I thought it would.  I got used to one voice, but because of the nature of the book, it felt like we already knew the other voice before she became the main storyteller.

Elizabeth Wein has created a novel that rivals that of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.  Both story of WWII and both compelling and completely engrossing.  Code Name Verity is an excellent read.  I cannot wait to pick up more of Wein's work.

Stars: 4/5 


"A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"This book is written in a brilliant way.... Elizabeth Wein makes it always be believable and realistic as it is from the point of view of a young woman.... Everyone should read this incredible and heart wrenching story of two girls."
     --The Guardian (UK)

"Between this and her follow-up, Rose Under Fire, Wein is revealing herself to be a new master of young adult historical fiction....Filled with twists and turns, Code Name Verity is not for the faint of heart."
     --Rolling Stone

An Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015 Book. 
A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 Book.
The 2015 TBR Pile Challenge Book
An Alphabet Soup Challenge Book.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Crushes

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

It's a freebie week!  Two years ago, I made a list fictional crushes and I've read many more books since then.  I thought I'd give you an update of my fictional crushes.

1. Henry (Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein) - He is someone I would totally crush on in person.  He's incredibly nice and loves his sister more than anything.  He's got glasses and a wicked genuine smile.

2.  Jamie (Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein) - We don't see much of him in the book, but every time we do, he's doing something selfless.  He's going to war, he's taking care of a group of boys, he's helping Maddie.  There is so much to love about his character and his perseverance.

3. Dutchy (Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline) - I fell for him the moment he decided to make a pact with Vivian about finding each other no matter what.  They were young then, but his fierce loyalty and his musical ability put me over the edge.

4. Tommy (Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro) - Despite all his faults and tendencies, Tommy is a sweet boy.  I have a hard time not crushing on him at least a little bit.

5. Day (Legend by Marie Lu) - He tries to be nonchalant, but when he really cares about something/someone he'll do anything to take care of them.  His large heart and badass heir make him irresistible.

6. Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling) - He's still on the list.  I'm rereading the series right now and he's so so adorable in the earlier books.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#39)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Best Sirius moment.

Goodness there are many a great Sirius moment.  I love him so much.  I enjoy every moment he spooks Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban in my rereads.  It's so funny to me that it's a terrifying thing, when the reality of it is the complete opposite.  I also love that he becomes a father figure Harry and a respected man among his the kids of the series.  One of my favorite quotes from the entire series is something that Sirius says to Ron.

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
Sirius even dies spectacularly, coming to the aide of his godson.  He was not going to stay cooped up nice and safe while his friends and family were out risking their necks.  And yes, it may have been avoidable, but it wasn't avoided.  It happened and it hurt.  But Sirius went out fighting like he was always meant to.  I may not ever understand the inner workings of the veil that took him, but I do know one thing: Sirius Black was a siriusly great character.  I'm not sure I could choose one favorite moment.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I'd REALLY like to meet

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I get tongue-tied when I think about the idea of meeting authors.  I know they are human beings but it still makes me a little nervous.  I mean I'd want to tell them exactly how much their books mean to me and how great I think they are.  I want to come away from an experience like that thinking okay I wasn't a crazy weird fan, but a semi-normal human being talking to another human being about their job and maybe other things.  I don't know.  I feel like I get excited about authors the way some people get excited about Taylor Swift or Drake.  I'm just really into books.

1. J.K. Rowling
2. John Green
3. Rainbow Rowell
4. Marissa Meyer
5. Marie Lu
6. Kate DiCamillo
7. Maureen Johnson
8. Matt Fraction
9. Neil Gaiman
10. Maggie Stiefvater (I can never spell her name right the first time.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


by Ingrid Law
published: Puffin, 2010 (first published 2008)
pages: 368

Mibs Beaumont is turning 13 and unlike most 13-year-olds she is expecting an extra-special gift, her savvy.  These magical powers come to her family during this time and Mibs is hoping it will be something amazing like her brothers' abilities to control weather and electricity.  But when her mom receives a call that their dad has been in a car accident, all attention shifts.  It becomes Mibs's mission to get to her father to prove that her new power can save him.  She'll do just about anything to accomplish it, even if it means getting other people into trouble as well.

This story may follow Mibs, but it's not just about her.  The cast of characters that willingly follow her on her adventure is enthusiastic and fun.  Traveling with Mibs are her older brother - Fish, her younger brother - Samson, the paster's kids - Bobbi and Will Jr, and Lester - an unfortunate man who got caught up in trying to do the right thing.  They all have secrets that they attempt to hide from one another but the truth comes spilling out along the journey.

I love how these characters interact with each other.  I enjoyed seeing Bobbi step into the protective older sibling role while trying to maintain her teenage apathy.  It was fun to see Fish trying to control his savvy while being in emotionally charged environments and situations. The kids collaboration of deceiving the adults in this book was so fun to read, I laughed quite a bit.  I know I would have never thought of anything like what they got away with, it's impressive.

The writing is as quirky and fun as the characters and because it's from the voice of Mibs herself, it just adds to each of the character's likable quality.  You can practically see her thinking up phrases to express herself.  It's amusing and imaginative; there are several phrases in the novel that I wish I would have thought up!

Magical element in this story is subtle and beautiful.  While the premise of the story is centered around Mibs getting her savvy and figuring out how to use and control it, the magic doesn't take over.  Their family lives a relatively normal life and they are surrounded by normal people.  Quite a few of the savvies are things that people would think a coincidence if they were used.  Mamma Beaumont likes to think of savvies as enhanced talents.  Everyone has talents, but savvies just happen to present themselves in extraordinary ways.  It's fun to think about what kind of savvy I would have, the possibilities are endless.

Ingrid Law has created an imaginative and interesting story for anyone who loves a good fantasy novel.  I look forward to reading more of her in the future.

Stars: 3/5


"Law displays both a fertile imagination...and a dab hand for likable, colorful characters...[a] marvel-laden debut."
     --Kirkus, starred review

"...[Law'] a natural storytelling who's created a vibrant and cinematic novel that readers are going to love."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Law's storytelling is rollicking, her language imaginative, and her entire cast of whacky, yet believable characters delight...wholly engaging and lots of fun."
     --Booklist, starred review

Monday, May 4, 2015

May TBR: Comics

In honor of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which came out May 1st in America and which I saw opening night, I thought it would be nice to read some comics this month.  Some of these will be rereads because I plan on reading most of my comic collection this month and finally dive into some of the storylines I've been avoiding.  Marvel, DC, and graphic novels alike don't get as much recognition as they should for being great sources of literature.  I'm excited to dive into this genre some more! (But also I ended the month with three different books started, that was dumb.  So this month will be more like finish the books I started in April and then on to Marvel comics month!) 

Currently Reading
  • Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Possible Candidates
  • Civil War by Mark Millar, Steven McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell
  • Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja
  • The Mighty Thor by Matt Fraction, Olivier Coipel, Charlie Beckerman
  • Black Widow by Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto
  • Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton
  • Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Yves Bigerel, Michael Avon Oeming, Sara Pichelli
  • Rook by Sharon Cameron 

Book Club

  • TBA

New Releases
  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (May 5th)
  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (May 5th)
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (May 19th)
  • Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (May 19th)

Book to Movie 
  • Age of Ultron (May 1) 

(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