Friday, July 31, 2015

The Harry Potter Tag

So, I saw The Harry Potter Tag over at Hidden Staircase and knew that I absolutely had to take part because I'm such a big fan of the books and movies!  If you're a Harry Potter fan, you have been tagged.  Before I begin I would like to wish J.K. Rowling, the woman who made all of this possible, a very happy birthday!

1. Favorite book?

Prisoner of Azkaban - It's the where everything begins to come together, we're introduced to the Marauders, and time travel.  I can't get enough of time travel!

2. Favorite movie?

Prisoner of Azkaban - I know a good deal was left out, like the Marauders, but I still think it got the spirit of the book.  I also like the redesign of the castle, grounds, and wands.

3. Least favorite book?

I love all of them, but I always thought Chamber of Secrets was the least interesting of the seven.

4. Parts of the books/movies that made you cry?

Don't get me started...

5. Favorite character?

Hermione Granger

6. What would your Patronus be?

Usually in quizzes, I tend to get an otter.  Definitely seems appropriate!

7. If you could have the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Elder Wand, which one would you choose?

The Invisibility Cloak

8.  What House would you be in?

According to Pottermore, I'm a Gryffindor.

9. If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

Emma Watson - Hermione is my favorite character and Ms. Watson seems like a great person all around.

10. If you were on the quidditch team, what position would you play?

I'm not really a sports person, but I wouldn't say no to playing Seeker.

11. Were you happy with the ending?

Yes.  Although, I do wish more characters I really cared for had survived.

12. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?  

In short, everything.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting my current read, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.  I'm excited to start in on this one!  I've heard so much about it already - good and bad - so I've decided it's time to see what I think of Aveyard's debut.  I'm just starting so I can't really say one way or another yet.  Based on these snippets, though, I'm excited to dive further into this book!

Book Beginning:

I hate First Friday.  It makes the village crowded, and now, in the heat of high summer, that's the last thing anyone wants.  From my place in the shade it isn't so bad, but the stink of bodies, all sweating with the morning work, is enough to make milk curdle.  The air shimmers with heat and humidity, and even the puddles from yesterday's storm are hot, swirling with rainbow streaks of oil and grease.


"What's happening today?"  I dumbly ask.  A lock of my dark hair falls in my eyes, and before I can try to swish it away, Walsh pushes the hair back and fastens it with a tiny pin, her motions quick and precise.  "Is that a stupid question?"

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The 80's Tag

I came across this tag on Brin's Book Blog and although I was born in the '80s and can't really remember actually living in that decade this still sounded like a lot of fun.  Since I'm not sure who else has done this tag, if you would like to participate, consider yourself tagged.  Without further ado:

Favorite 80's movie:

Back to the Future - I love this movie (the entire series, really!) and I've watched it more times than I can count!  This is probably what got me interested in time travel.

Favorite 80's cartoon:

When I was younger, I loved watching the animated Beetlejuice series.  I doubt I had even seen the movie back when I used to watch the cartoon, but the movie is definitely one of my all time favorites now.  I haven't seen it in ages and I would love to rewatch it!

Favorite 80's tv show:

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy The A-Team?  It's so much fun!  My favorites characters are Murock and B.A.  If I ever see a rerun playing, I will stop and watch it!

Favorite thing about the 80's:

It's difficult to pinpoint one thing, but I can't resist the 50's and 60's nostalgia in pop movies from the 80's.  Some examples: Back to the Future, Grease, Stand By Me, Footloose, American Graffiti, The Outsiders.

Where were you in 1989?

Well, I was a baby in 1989...

Favorite 80's cereal:

Kix - Luckily it's still available!

Favorite 80's fashion trend:

Ray-Bans - Not that I've ever had any, but I do enjoy that style for sunglasses.

Favorite artist of the 80's:

Michael Jackson

Favorite song of the 80's:

This is a difficult one because it's so hard to choose just one, but I recently heard "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurythmics and completely forgot how much I enjoyed it!  I could listen to this over and over on repeat!

Favorite 80's book:

Of my favorite YA books released in the 80's, I'd have to say one near the top of my list is So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane.  If you haven't read this book, and the others in the Young Wizards series for that matter, I highly recommend it!

Favorite 80's icon:

Johnny Depp - arguably still stands.

Favorite 80's crush:

You know, I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was Michael J. Fox because I liked Back to the Future so much.

Favorite toy from the 80's:

Skip-It, easily!  This was one of my absolute favorites when I was a kid.

Favorite chocolate bar from the 80's:

I don't know a whole bunch about 80's chocolate, but I do know that one of my favorite chocolate bars from my childhood was the still available Hershey's Krackel.  I probably the minis at Halloween, but they were the best!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Happy Tuesday!  The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds.  I must admit that I'm very excited to see this topic crop up.  Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

Matilda Wormwood - Matilda by Roald Dahl

Hermione Granger - Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Cath Avery - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Jo March - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Liesel Meminger - The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack

Rhett Carter - Brew by David Estes

Klaus Baudelaire - A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Catherine Morland - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Isaac Vanio - Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Katy Swartz - Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I'm currently reading this one and I'm pleasantly surprised to see she's a book blogger!

So, what do you think of my list this week?  Do we share any books or characters?  Any and all comments are appreciated!

Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch - Review

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Ethan Burke, Secret Service, goes to Wayward Pines, Idaho on a mission to find two missing agents who went missing there a month ago. Shortly after arriving, he's involved in a terrible accident. When he comes to he's in the hospital and although the staff seems friendly enough something is off. He can't pinpoint exactly what it is, but for one thing they won't give him back his personal effects and no one seems to know what happened to them. As he continues his mission in the coming days, he realizes he now has a lot more questions than answers. For example, why does no one believe he is who he says he is, why can't he call his family to let them know he's alright, why is there a huge electric fence surrounding the town? Whatever the answers to the above questions, Ethan begins to wonder whether he'll ever get out of Wayward Pines alive.

I enjoyed what I saw on the FOX's tv adaptation, so I decided to check out the source material. Since I had already watched the entire series, I wasn't all that surprised by the twists and the turns but it was interesting to be able to compare the original to the adaptation. While there are difference some of which I wasn't expecting at all, it still a fun twisty read. I actually listened to the audiobook which was overall a good production but it took me a while to get into the style.

If you haven't read or watched this series, I recommend both especially if you enjoy The Twilight Zone. I fully plan on continuing the trilogy!

I listened to this audiobook from July 21 - 26, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Birthday Book Haul!

Today, I celebrated my birthday in style - shopping at Half Price Books and Barnes & Noble followed by lunch at The Cheesecake Factory along with thoroughly examining the shops at Polaris Fashion Place!  I even walked into Saks Fifth Avenue - although, I admit, everything was so expensive I was half afraid to look at anything too hard let alone even think about touching anything.

Primarily using gift cards, I brought home the following books:

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, Lionheart by Sharon Penman, Bone Quill by John and Carol E. Barrowman, The Awesome by Eva Darrows, Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger, You by Caroline Kepnes, The Enemy by Charlie Higson, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, and Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

I also picked up Angel, Season 3 from Half Price Books!

Now the real question:  Which one should I read first?

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka which will be my next read.  I'm really excited for this after having watched Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt!  If you haven't seen the movie, you're really missing out.  These snippets make the source material sound great!

Book Beginning: 

When the bullets start flying, it's only a matter of time before fear catches up with the soldier.


"If a cat can catch mice," a Chinese emperor once said, "it's a good cat."

Rita Vrataski was a very good cat.  She killed her share and was duly rewarded.  I, on the other hand, was a mangy alley cat padding listlessly through the battlefield, all ready to be skinned, gutted, and made into a tennis racket. 

[From page 57, as 56 is blank.]

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl - Review

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Blue's unusual life growing up has led her to a group of wild friends at her new school and their teacher. After a series of strange events, a drowning, and the shocking death of their teacher all lead to mysteries that require solving. Blue will need to put all of her broad cultural lexicon and instincts to the test if she hopes to find answers.

Smart, edgy, funny, and dark is a great way to describe Pessl's debut novel. It took me a while to get into the style and the tone, but once I did I couldn't look away. As I got into the swing of things, I could see how charismatic and likable the novel is trying to be and sometimes it really worked for me. I enjoyed getting to know Blue, her father, and everyone at St. Gallway. At the same time, however, it also comes across as uber-pretentious and far too clever for its own good. Considering the characters themselves this isn't exactly a problem with the book, but it can make the cast unpalatable.

I read this novel from July 18 - 23, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - Review

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Twenty-six year-old Jean Louise "Scout" Finch comes back to Maycomb, Alabama from NYC to visit her aging father. She doesn't expect to learn disturbing truths about her family while she's there. Everything she thought she knew about her father has been challenged and thrown into doubt. Basicaly, Scout is a grown-up, Jem is dead, and Atticus is a racist member the KKK (along with pretty much everyone else).

Honestly, Go Set a Watchman was one of those books that I wasn't sure I wanted to read because I love To Kill a Mockingbird so much. However, when my library received their copy I was the first person to put my name on the hold list for it - I just couldn't stay away.

One of the things that bothered me about the release of this book is actually the publication history. I can't help but think of it's release now as some sort of a cash grab. Another thing that I don't understand is the way that it's being marketed - have you noticed it's often being billed as a sequel? To clear things up, it is not a sequel. It is actually the original draft of what was eventually reworked into To Kill a Mockingbird. There is no way not to compare the two works because the uneven Watchman cannot stand on its own.

While this draft isn't as lyrical and can't quite decide what it wants to be, I could still see elements of what makes To Kill a Mockingbird a classic. The key pieces are there it just needed a major overhaul to give it what it was missing. For example, here Scout aka Jean Louise tells us her story directly as an adult often flashing back to her childhood. Atticus is no longer seen through the lens of said childhood - he is not her moral compass or guiding light anymore. He is a bit more complex and much more infuriating. Regardless of how much I dislike this racist version of Atticus, it's still interesting to see him this way especially considering Jean Louise's reaction and the time period of the setting. I could fully relate to her reaction to realizing that he is not the man she thought he was her whole life. One element that truly took me by surprise, in that I hadn't heard about it beforehand, is the fact that there is no Jem. Jem died from a bad heart about two years before this story begins. He was so gloriously alive that it's hard to imagine him being gone just like that, but his death does make way for her relationship with Henry Clinton.

I've seen extreme reviews of Go Set a Watchman at opposite ends of the spectrum. I'd say I'm somewhere in the middle actually. It's not To Kill a Mockingbird at all, but an earlier draft of a true classic. Atticus's depiction here didn't completely ruin his character for me - I'm just extremely glad that I got to know the Atticus I know and love.

I read this novel from July 13 - 18, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.