Friday, February 27, 2015

Feature Friday: How to Name Your Lit Magazine

I thought this infographic was pretty hilarious.  I feel like a lit mag is basically a website or a blog in today's world, and I had the hardest time choosing a name for this blog.  Where was this guide in October 2013??  Apparently my lit mag/blog should be named MidwesternBreakfast.com.  (I'm alright with Bookmark Dragon, though.  Particularly since I don't currently live in the Midwest.)  What about you??

lit mags, lincoln michel, nadxi nieto

Source: Electric Literature

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


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To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Rating: 3.75 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all."

Review: Okay, internets, don't hate me.  I thought this book was only a little above average.  

The amount of love surrounding this book made me think that although it is not a genre (YA romance) that I am usually drawn to,  I might fall in love with it along with the rest of the world anyway.  That.... did not happen.  I thought it was sufficiently cute, but, frankly, I spent a large portion of the book being bored.

Just like with Anna and the French Kiss (another YA romance that everyone loves except me) I feel like this is almost entirely a case of it's-not-you-it's-me.  I fully recognize that this book has an extremely likable cast, and an engaging will-they-won't-they premise.  I understand why so many are drawn to this story, and why they have responded to it so positively.  And I'm glad that there are books like this out there, because if I had read this book when I was in high school I think I would have fallen in love with it, too.  

But the fact remains that I am not in high school, my tastes have changed over the years, and books like this no longer hold the appeal for me that they once did.  However, I will remember this book as a standout in the genre of YA romance, and happily recommend it to those who are interested.  

With a couple of minor caveats:

In order to like this book, you will need to have to have a strong stomach for angst.  You will also have to put up with a scene of slut shaming.  You will also need to not be bugged by ambiguous endings.  Those three things were extremely irritating to me, personally, but if you're okay with it, then knock yourself out.  

While I did not fall in love, I enjoyed this book well enough.  I won't be reading it again.  But I wish I had read it when I was younger, as it would have aligned with my tastes much more closely earlier in my life.  

Review in a GIF:
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Bottom Line: A cute enough story, though I didn't fall in love.  I'd recommend it to Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman fans.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book-to-Broadway: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

 




What would Water for Elephants sound like as a musical?Producers Peter Schneider and Elisabetta di Mambro, in association with Broadway Across America and Mehr! Entertainment, announced Monday that they've acquired the worldwide rights to adapt Sara Gruen's best-selling 2006 novel as a musical.The Depression-era novel, which has been published in 43 countries and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, follows aspiring veterinarian Jacob Jankowski as he joins the staff of Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, working with the circus' new elephant. He bonds with the show's equestrian star, who is married to its charismatic but troubled animal superintendent.  The love-triangle title was previously adapted into a 2011 film starring Reese Witherspoon,Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz. Directed by Francis Lawrence, the Fox release grosses $117 million worldwide."I have loved Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants since it was first published and was captivated by its theatricality,” said Schneider, the former Disney film executed who also produced The Lion King onstage, in a statement. “It is so dramatic — a woman who is trapped in a relationship for all the wrong reasons meets and falls in love with a man for all the right reasons. Throw in an elephant as a matchmaker and you have the potential for a show of great imagination and emotional depth.""The novel evokes an exotic, colorful and gorgeous world and yet its very human emotions are instantly recognizable and universal," added di Mambro. "We are just starting the creative process, beginning to talk with composers, writers, and directors who can help transform this vibrant world onto the musical stage. Aware of the exciting challenge ahead of us, we are grateful that Sara Gruen has given us the rights to bring her beloved story and characters to life as a global musical."Eyeing a Broadway run, the production's creative team will be announced at a later date.


I don't know about you, but I think this whole project sounds fantastic.  I never saw the film, but I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think it has great potential to be a successful Broadway show, and I hope this project gets the fast track.  What do you think?  Have you read the book?  Or seen the film?  Do you like Broadway?  Would you be interested in seeing this show?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books

There are so many.  Here are my favorites, in random order:


10. Matilda Wormwood from Matilda by Roald Dahl
When I was a kid I wanted to be Matilda when I grew up.  I'm still working on it.


9. Cath Avery from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Though she's probably not who you think of when you think of a hard core heroine, she is strong and smart and kind and determined and I adore her.


8. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
On the other hand, Celaena is exactly who I think of when I think of a hard core heroine.


7. Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I love her for her resourcefulness, bravery, and absolute loyalty to those she loves.


6. Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
No explanation needed.


5. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
She is sharp witted and determined, and she gets Mr. Darcy.  Some people have all the luck.


4. Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
I loved watching Elisa come into her own.  What a fantastic character.


3. Vin from the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Vin is about as hard core as it is possible to get.


2. Danaerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
She's the daughter of dragons.  Of course she's on my list.


1. Lia from The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
This character surprised me with how much I cared about her and her story.  She's now one of my favorites.


Who are your favorites?  Who would you add?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekly Words: Anna Quindlen

Friday, February 20, 2015

Feature Friday: What Jane Austen Spinoff To Read Next

Love Jane Austen?  Me too!  If you're interested in reading an Austen spinoff, this infographic is just for you.  I've been meaning to read Longbourn, especially.  (And I'm so glad Shannon Hale's Austenland made the list.  I love that book.  And that film.  They're both awesome.)

From BookRiot:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson


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The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler – the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years – has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

As Kelsier’s protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.

Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.

As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows."


***WARNING: There are spoilers for the first book in the series below.***

Review: This review is basically a love letter to Cassi from My Thoughts Literally for making me read this series.  Thanks, Cassi!  I had so much fun with this book!  Hard as I try, most of my thoughts are still a little unorganized, so forgive the disorganization in this review.  I just had to get it all written down, whether or not it made sense.

So.  The Lord Ruler is dead.  Luthadel is surrounded by enemies.  And the mists are acting strangely.  So begins the second installment of the Mistborn trilogy.  Like the first book, the more I read The Well of Ascension the more I enjoyed it.  It was a suspenseful and intense and political thriller, and I'm glad I read it

One of my favorite things about this book was the character Zane.  He's either schizophrenic or on some sort of drug, but his unpredictability combined with his considerable power made him a fascinating character.  I loved every scene he was in.

Another part that I loved was the friendship that developed between Vin and OreSeur.  They had some big hurdles to cross, but they (almost reluctantly) found a way though them, and I found their camaraderie to be really fulfilling.

I also liked that I didn't fully trust anyone.  With the existence of a spy, every word everyone said was suspicious, and I liked the weight behind that suspicion.  I was a little bugged from a realistic point of view that the mole issue wasn't delved into as strongly as I thought it should have been, but it did make for some great scenes.  (But when it was finally revealed, I confess I was shocked.  I did not suspect that person.)

Also, MARSH.  What a creepy dude.  I feel like he knows something he's not sharing.  I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him, and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

The mist shadow was certainly intriguing.  I have a couple of guesses of who it is, and I want to find out whether or not I'm right.

Lord Venture (Elend's father) was one heck of a villain.  Wow.  

The deaths in the final battle were so devastating.  One in particular made me really, really sad.  I want to make a shrine for this person.  (Ask me who it is if you want to know, don't want to spoil it for anyone!)

For all my love for this book, there were a few things I disliked.  I felt like the siege took too long.  It was basically the entire book.  Yes, there were other things going on, but the pacing of that particular plot line was slooooow.  Also, I'm still not sure what the Deepness is.  There is more clarity in this book than the last one, but it still feels a little vague to me.  And, lastly, I don't understand how things could be changed in the Terrispeople's metal minds.  Or why they don't change in metal.  That seemed like an awfully convenient and totally unsatisfactory explanation.

I will definitely be reading The Hero of Ages.  Soon.  I want to know if Sazed is going to be alright.  I predict that Breeze will be very changed going forward.  And I want to find out what happens to TenSoon.  And how Elend will handle his personal changes.  And what's going to happen with the koloss.  And I want to know where that freaking atium is located already.  

Bring it on.

Review in a GIF:
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Bottom Line: A consuming and thrilling second installment in the Mistborn series.  There were some big surprises and heart stopping moments throughout, and I can't wait to read how it all ends.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book-to-Film: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy is being adapted for a BBC miniseries, and the first episode was released February 15th.  Though not an ideally romantic Valentines weekend show, I still am very interested in checking it out, though I haven't seen it yet.  Are you?




From People:

The first trailer for J.K. Rowling's inaugural foray into TV has arrived, and it offers a glimpse into the small English town of Pagford, where the series is set. 
Seemingly idyllic on the surface, "Everyone's got skeletons rattling in their cupboards," a voiceover intones.
"Behind the pretty facade," reads the show's official description, "is a town at war: rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils. Pagford is not what it first seems." 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ten Book Related Problems I Have

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Ten Book Related Problems I Have
 
Let's jump in, shall we?


10. My hands go numb when I'm in a reclining position and holding a book on my lap for extended periods of time.  Keep reading?  Or allow some blood to flow to my hands?  IT'S A TOSS UP.

9.  I have responsibilities other than reading. 

8. My body requires sleep.  I would transform into a vampire solely for the ability to not have to be tired anymore.  THINK OF THE READING I COULD GET DONE.

7. Sharon Shinn's last novel in her Elemental Blessings series doesn't have a title or even have a release date yet.  WHAT IS THIS LIFE.

6. Hedwig.  WHY?!?!?!

5. My books don't all fit on my bookshelves.  Things are stacked vertically and/or double stacked all over those shelves.  My organizational quirks start twitching every time I look at them.

4. George R.R. Martin's writing pace.

3. I don't own a single Sarah J. Maas book.  Clearly I have no priorities at all.

2. Hogwarts is fictional.

1. I can't read Harry Potter for the first time ever again. *sob*


What are your biggest book related problems??

Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekly Words: Annonymous

Friday, February 13, 2015

Feature Friday: Bookish Quizes Falling From the Skies

Hello, lovelies!  Happy Friday the Thirteenth!  Or maybe I shouldn't say that if you are suspicious?  I like to think of days like today as lucky.  Anyway, for this Feature Friday I'll be linking to a handful of my favorites among the billions of quizes available online.  Enjoy!  And tell me your results!!

I got The Aesthete!

I got Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy!  (So basically I've just been proven right.)

I got About a Day.  Apparently I'm not cutthroat killer.  And I'm okay with that.

I got 13/15!  

I got Lucy Honeychurch!  I've actually never read A Room with a View, so I don't know what to make of that.

I got 14/20!  Clearly spelling is not my forte.

I got J.K Rowling!  My life is now complete.



...oh, you didn't want to spend two hours doing random quizes online?  SORRY NOT SORRY.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson


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Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson
Rating: 3.75 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights….Come one, come all!

A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academymasterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief."

Review: Pennyroyal Academy was a cute middle-grade novel that will delight you, though you may completely forget all about it five minutes after finishing.  At least, that was my experience.

The castle setting and the presence of fairy tale characters make much of the background of this book very enchanting.  It was reminiscent of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani and Ever After High by Shannon Hale in that way.  The dragons and witches and princesses and knights and fairies all contributed to making this whole story magical.  

The characters were well done too.  They were distinct and multi-dimensional, and I was rooting for several characters at once.  Evie was a sweet girl, and I loved watching her blossom.  There were plenty of plot twists along the way, even though a few were predictable.  It kept my attention, and after finishing I resolved to pick up the next book in the series once it comes out.

All that being said, it's been a couple of weeks since I finished and I can think of almost nothing else to say about this book.  I don't think it has crossed my mind since finishing even once.

So while it entertained me, it was pretty forgettable.  I'm not sorry I read it, because I had a good time.  But I think I would have liked this book a lot more as a ten-year-old than I do as an adult.  I would recommend this to kids/teens, or to read out loud to pre-teens.  I probably wouldn't recommend this to adults to read on their own, though.  

Review in a GIF:
confused animated GIF

Bottom Line: A sweet, if somewhat predictable middle-grade fantasy.  I'd recommend it to pre-teens and teenagers without hesitation, though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

About That Wheel of Time Pilot...



This whole story is just bizarre to me.  From The Verge:

If you were watching FXX at 1:30 AM EST [Monday] night, and are a fan of Robert Jordan’s 10,000 page spanning fantasy epic, The Wheel of Time, you were treated to an unusual surprise: the half-hour pilot of The Wheel of Time: Winter Dragon. Furthermore, you weren’t alone: In a statement released earlier today by Jordan’s editor and widow, Harriet McDougal, the pilot that aired was produced without any knowledge or cooperation from either her or Jordan’s estate.
McDougal explains that "Bandersnatch [Jordan's estate] has an existing contract with Universal Pictures that grants television rights [to The Wheel of Time] to them until this Wednesday, February 11 – at which point these rights revert to Bandersnatch."
It appears Universal had been working with Red Eagle Entertainment to bring the series to the screen when they received the rights in 2008. However, the terms of Universal's contract with Jordan's estate and their involvement with Red Eagle Entertainment's pilot still remain unclear. Rick Selvage, the CEO of Red Eagle Entertainment, stated in an interview with io9 that the timing of the pilot was a factor in its sudden airing, and that it should be viewed as "a pilot for a high-budget production television series," with more announcements coming soon.
The Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy series written by Robert Jordan and later concluded by author Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007. It spans over 14 books and details the story of Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn. The pilot itself portrays the events of the prologue to the first book, The Eye of the World, depicting events and characters from hundreds of years before the series is set.
With the massive popularity in Game of Thrones, itself famously adapted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, it’s easy to see why Red Eagle Entertainment would want to attempt to keep their rights to a similar epic fantasy series in an attempt to produce a TV series farther down the road. It's a shame it had to have been done in such a clandestine manner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

 
These are all pretty self-explanatory.  Feel free to chip in with your thoughts!

Things I Dislike:

1. Instalove
eye roll animated GIF
(e.g. Violet and Ash in The Jewel by Amy Ewing)

2. Lack of trust
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(e.g. Lara Jean and Peter in To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han)

3. When love makes you dumb
arrested development animated GIF
(Bella and Edward in Twilight by Stephanie Meyer)

4. Characters "in love" who do not communicate with their partner in order to advance the plot
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(e.g. Tris and Four in Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth)

5. When it's obvious as dirt that two people love each other, but they won't admit it for nearly the entire book
annoyed animated GIF
(e.g. Anna and Etienne in Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins)



Things I Like:

6. Romance based on friendship
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(e.g. Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

7. Mutual respect
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(e.g. Cath and Levi in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

8. When it's a choice to love the other person, not a result of passion alone
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(e.g. Sazed and Tindwyl in The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson)

9. Stable, non-turbulent relationships
happy animated GIF
(Molly and Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling)

10. When characters fight together for their own relationship
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(Jamie and Claire in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)


What would you add?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekly Words: Albert Einstein

Friday, February 6, 2015

Feature Friday: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Cover Round-up

There are so many beautiful covers for Anne of Green Gables.  I'm drooling over all of them.  Which is your favorite?


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And I'll just go ahead and take this whole collection:
anne of green gables tundra
All images found via Goodreads.