Monday, September 26, 2016

Musing Mondays (62) What's On My TBR + Obscure Books & Movies

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at Books and a Beat, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My musings for the week...

Random Weekly Question: What is currently on your TBR pile?

I don't really have much on my current TBR except for The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson (the edition illustrated by Sanna Annukka). Other than that, the books I want to read haven't been released yet.

Other musings...

Random weekly question from September 12th: What obscure book do you think should be turned into a movie?


This is actually a pretty interesting question. Many of the books I’ve read, I wouldn’t consider them as obscure since they’re fairly well-known. And since I think this question needs a little more space than a short one paragraph answer, I’m going to use it as the theme for my musings this week.

Usually, when I think of book to movie adaptations, I immediately think of the dozens of YA books that have already gotten the movie treatment. For my list today, I want to talk about ones that haven’t been adapted. I also want to include books that I think would make a great TV series/special. So, without further ado, here’s my list…

Founding Myths by Ray Raphael—I picked this one even though its nonfiction. I think it would be great as a history TV series of some kind or a two part special. I do love history and I do like things that delve into the more obscure facts—or even clarify misconceptions about historical facts. Needless to say, if Founding Myths ever got turned into a movie/TV show or special, I would watch it.

The Night Has Teeth by Kat Kruger—I liked a lot of things about The Night Has Teeth. What I really enjoyed about it was Kruger’s take on werewolves plus her choice of setting. The combination had an interesting result that made the book one of my favorites. I also think it would make a great movie.

Scorched by Mari Mancusi—there’s never enough dragons on screen. So, Scorched is definitely one of my picks for this list. It has dragons, enough said.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky—Like Founding Myths above, I would definitely like to see this one on the screen. However, I think it would be better as a series rather than just one film, so that more time could be dedicated to each scientist and their respective accomplishments.

Kat, Incorrigible series by Stephanie Burgis—Historical setting+magic=yes! This is one of my favorite middle grade series for a reason, and I would love to see it adapted into movies.

Double Vision series by F.T. Bradley—I would love to see this series on screen. This series had humor, action, and junior agents working for a shadowy organization.

What books do you wish were a TV series/special, or movie?

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Friday 56 (78) Hourglass by Myra McEntire

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE
9182478Synopsis from Goodreads...

One hour to rewrite the past…

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back. So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past. Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should've happened?

""Yeah, because that worked out so well. There's no love there, Lily." And for me there probably never would be. No matter how much Dru protested, I didn't think I had any to offer.--Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Comments: I was in the mood for a paranormal novel, and this one seemed pretty interesting. So, I'm giving it a chance. This quote doesn't come from page 56, but I liked it more than the others. I'm not very far in yet, but so far so good...

What are you reading this week?


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlTitle: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Source/Format: Won (giveaway); Hardcover
More Details: Young Adult; Contemporary
Publisher/Publication Date: St. Martin's Press; September 10, 3013

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Synopsis from Goodreads... 

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love... 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan. But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I have been hearing about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell since it came out way back in 2013. And, I don’t know, I guess I’ve just put off reading it for a long time since the hype was everywhere. However, I’ve had a copy sitting on my shelf for a while now, and recently I decided to go ahead and take the plunge. Fangirl was not a bad book. I liked the overall story, and particularly enjoyed how Rowell handled some of the themes in the novel. I think what I liked best about Fangirl wasn’t actually Cath’s fan fiction writing, but all the other elements that made up the story. Don’t get me wrong, the fandom/fan fiction parts were fine on their own. However, what I liked more than anything else was seeing Cath adjust to college life and how she dealt with turmoil in her family and personal life. Those parts were especially awesome. Cath’s story was the focus of Fangirl, but I also liked the secondary characters too. Cath’s college roommate came off as kind of unapproachable, but I instantly liked her character. Cath’s twin sister Wren was alright too. They each went through their fair share of changes, sometimes together and sometimes alone, and the learning moments that both Cath and Wren experienced was handled in a way that fully explored the issues. As such, I really liked the dynamics of the friendships and relationships in Fangirl.

So, I went into Fangirl with literally no expectation besides wanting to finally get to this book, and came away thoroughly entertained with a handful of new favorite characters.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine, #1)Title: A Corner of White
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Source/Format: Purchased; ebook
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Arthur A. Levine Books; April 1, 2013

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world). Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...
Amidst my marathon of contemporary and nonfiction, I took a break to read something else. A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty caught my attention because it seemed like something I would enjoy. It appeared to have all the right elements—a myth, a mysterious gap, and unexplained disappearances. And despite the sole problem I had with A Corner of White, I really enjoyed this book.

What I really liked best about A Corner of White was the characters, the setting, and the writing. The characters were interesting. Madeleine and her mother were among my favorites. I think Moriarty did a good job depicting the relationship between the two as a realistic connection between mother and daughter. Elliot’s side of the story was just as interesting as Madeleine’s, and I liked how their lives eventually connected. The setting—or should I say settings—were different from one another, and I liked them both. The Kingdom of Cello’s “color storms” were especially interesting.

I’ve read books where the characters and their lives are the main focus of the book, and the same could be said about A Corner of White. The beginning and the middle of the book focuses more on the lives of the characters and the things that happened to them on a daily basis. Stuff does happen—which I was happy about—but not until very late in the book. Thinking back on it now, I can see some vague hints at the main conflict around the middle, but nothing like the end chapters. The last few chapters are what made A Corner of White worth the read—that moment when the conflict that I was searching for finally made an appearance. I have so many unanswered questions. And I’ll be honest, I want to know what’s in store for Madeleine, Elliot, and the rest of the characters. A Corner of White made an impression, so the book did its job. It left me wanting more of this story, the world, and the characters.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Friday 56 (77) Burning Emerald by Jamie Reed

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE
12893536Synopsis from Goodreads...

Dating the most popular guy in school is every girl's fantasy. But to Samara Marshall, he's a dangerous force come to rekindle their tangled past. Only it's not her past. Samara faces a challenging senior year. Controlling her inner demon is a struggle, even with help from her Cambion boyfriend, Caleb. But her life takes a turn for the worse when the hottest jock in school begins pursuing her--especially since Malik's anything but what he seems. They share a connection from a forgotten past--a secret that could destroy her and Caleb. As the attraction becomes harder to resist, Samara is now at the mercy of the demon within her. To break free, Sam must fight a battle where she is the enemy and the prize. . .and victory will come at a deadly price...
"Halloween with the gang was no casual affair and we took our sugar raid to almost militant proportions. Back in the day, Mia, Dougie, and I had been the original A-Team, laying waste to the entire junk food industry one block at a time, leaving devastation and candy wrappers in our wake."--Burning Emerald by Jamie Reed
Comments: The Cambion Chronicles is one of my favorite paranormal series. I had book one and three, but I never got around to the second in the series, until now. What are you reading this week?


Thursday, September 15, 2016

ARC Review: The Reader by Traci Chee

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1)Title: The Reader
Author: Traci Chee
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Putnam; September 13, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible...
One word folks: more. I want more of this book—this series—this world that Traci Chee has created. I have one reason for that: The Reader was awesome. The synopsis had a lot of promise—a society that was widely illiterate by custom, a mysterious book, a girl out for revenge against those who have wronged her and those she loves. I went into this book with high expectations, and boy does The Reader deliver.

The primary focus of The Reader was Sefia and her journey to get revenge, and unlock the secrets of the book. She had a thirst for information, and strived to understand things that were never taught to her. Part of The Reader focused on her progress and growth as a character. There were other characters that also had narratives just as strong as Sefia’s, and their stories were just as important—I had my favorites and tolerable secondary characters—but for the most part, the characters were one of the strongest aspects of The Reader. There were just so many compelling and layered pieces of the plot that I found myself easily invested in the story!

The story gets started on strong footing. The setting, society, and problems are quick to show their faces—promptly setting up the main conflict. And while the book was long—almost five hundred pages—there was something gripping about the story. I was never bored. There was always something going on with the characters, and their adventures were fun to read about. The story was also pretty balanced with a solid mystery, action, and a hint of romance.

The writing was also good. The prose was descriptive and straight-forward. There were a lot of POVs but it showed different parts of the fictional world, and painted a broader picture of the circumstances, mindsets, and habits of the main characters.  I actually liked reading from so many perspectives because of that. It kept the story going at a good pace and answered questions while raising others—it also gave background to parts of the story.

All-in-all, The Reader was a solid debut. I liked these characters and their story, and the society they were a part of was fascinating. I still have so many questions—I wasn’t ready for the story to be over, but it was—as such, I will definitely continue on with this series.
This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!
About the author...

Traci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Musing Mondays (61) Seasonal Books...

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at Books and a Beat, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My musings for the week...

Random weekly question from August 29th: Which book do you wish you’d written yourself?


This is a pretty common question, and I'm sure I've asked an author this exact thing at one time or another. However, my answer to this question is none. There isn't a book I wish I'd written myself. They're my favorites for a reason—meaning, I didn't write them. I don't think I would like my favorite books as much if I'd written them myself. So, I enjoyed them for what they were, because they didn't sound like they were coming from my perspective.

Other Musings...

It’s basically the beginning of the holiday season…already. August wasn’t even over before Halloween/fall decorations and seasonal goods with specialty flavors (like candy, tea, and coffee) started appearing in stores/restaurants and so forth. And now that it’s already September. I feel like this year just flew past, but oh well, at least my favorite teas are coming back (I can't rightly complain). So—in conjunction with the stores—to start out this week, I want to talk about seasonal books.

I like the holiday season a lot, not just because of the food either. I always look forward to Halloween because of all the little items. I've already brought two—a pumpkin pillar and an adorable owl in a witch hat from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores (hello new desk ornaments). But, I also like books that feel like they fit with the season. For example, something spooky for Halloween/October, or wintry for Christmas/December. Hence, seasonal books.

Seasonal books are kind of like the pumpkin spice coffee from Starbucks: specifically themed. However, books stay on store shelves and are more readily accessible, with availability not determined by the time of year. Usually, I’ll consider a book to be seasonal based off of a few things like setting—fall or winter, sometimes both—the subject, and even the characters if they happen to be particularly festively themed.

When I think of seasonal reads that I've already read, Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline come to mind for October—and My True Love Gave to Me is one that I would pair with December (I still need to get that anthology, I've heard marvelous things about it). There are others, but I just don’t know of them yet. So, even though this won’t be a definite goal, I do want to try to get to more of the holiday/season themed books before this year is over.

What are some of your favorite seasonal reads/TV shows/foods/drinks?

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Friday 56 (76) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

16068905Synopsis from Goodreads... 

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love... 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan. But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
"It was almost like writing with Wren--back when she and Wren would sit in front of the computer, pulling the keyboard back and forth and reading out loud as the other person typed."--Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Comments: I'm finally reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. What are you reading this week?


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Visual Reference Guides Architecture by Jonathan Glancey

Architecture (Visual Reference Guides Series)Title: Architecture
Author: Jonathan Glancey
Source/Format: Purchased; Paperback
More Details: Nonfiction; Reference; Architecture 
Publisher/Publication Date: Metro Books; March 15, 2010

Goodreads   


Synopsis from Goodreads...

Visual Reference Guides: Architecture, the definitive visual guide, allows you to discover 5,000 years of architectural design, style, and construction, from airports to ziggurats. You'll be able to explore the world's great buildings through amazing illustrations that take you right to the heart of the world's landmark buildings. Look beyond the fa├žades and examine the materials and technology that shape buildings, and identify the key elements and decorative features of each architectural style. It's the perfect addition to any architecture enthusiast's library, whether expert or novice...
When I sat down to give Visual Reference Guides: Architecture a read, I really had no expectations except one: a visual trip around the world and through the ages of architecture. That’s what this book was about, architecture, and how it changed or stayed the same over time, or even fluctuated backwards to a more classical style and forwards to something new.

What this book does is give a small profile on different examples of architecture as well as architects who worked on specific buildings—if the information was available. It’s also divided into clear sections that focused on a specific architectural style that sometimes depended on region/culture/country, and available building materials—everything from Classical Revival to Baroque & Rococo, and even Gothic Revival and Modernism. Some styles had similarities, but others were noticeably different. My favorite types of architecture were found in the sections that discussed Baroque, Rococo, Greecian, Indian, and Southeast Asian styles.

Since this was a visual reference guide, photos made up a lot of the book—there was almost one for every profile, give or take a few. So, there were some blank spots in the information provided, but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. The photos also served as visual examples of the types of architecture being described. Another aspect I liked about this book, was that there were pages dedicated to summaries of information that gave a little history about each style, which was cool since the explanations were handy.

I like architecture in its many forms. Since, after all, it is a part of everyday life and the source of modern convenience and comfort—really handy when it’s over a hundred degrees outside, just saying. So, I really enjoyed this book and the way it highlighted my favorite architectural features as well as those that were new to me. My money was well spent on this one.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Friday 56 (75) A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE
15703332
Synopsis from Goodreads...

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world). Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...
"Today, however, they were at the flat. Madeleine and her mother were side by side on the couch, and Jack and Belle were on kitchen chairs facing them. "--A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty 
Comments: I just started this one today. Its been sitting on my ereader for a very long time, and I'm just now getting around to it. Page 56 didn't have a lot going on. I'm not that far yet, so I wonder how it fits in.

What are you reading this week?

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