Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Six Books That Were Hard For Me To Read





I'm kind of a black sheep with this one, since I know so many people who loved it!  I guess I just didn't really know what it was about going in, and being in the mind of...slight spoilers? of someone who is going a bit crazy SERIOUSLY stressed me out to the point where I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish.  It freaked me out to a level that really surprised me, and I officially have started going through my Goodreads TBR shelf and taking off anything similar.





The Book Thief - Markus Zusak


Does this one really even need an explanation?  I was so scared to start this book because I knew how much trauma was going to be involved that it took me five years to work up the courage to read it!







Again, does this one need an explanation?  Besides all the spoilery things I won't mention, finishing this book meant an entire era of my life was over.  Growing up with the Harry Potter books meant that...well it felt like I literally grew up with him.  So once this series was over, he was moving on from Hogwarts - and I was moving on to college.  Those of you who are my age and grew up with the books too probably understand how momentous it felt, in a way that's rather difficult to capture in words.





Mansfield Park - Jane Austen


Oh man.  The things shipping the wrong ship can ruin.  This pretty much turned my world upside down - I freaking LOVE Jane Austen!  ...except this book.





A Tangled Web - L.M. Montgomery


It's easy to forget what era L.M. Montgomery is from when you reminisce on her Anne of Green Gables series.  It's hard to get past that when you find incredibly sexist, and just...mind blowingly racist opinions in this book.  The last page of this ends on what I honestly think is probably the most offensive thing I have EVER read - and this is including youtube comments - and it is really hard to swallow that coming from one of you favourite authors.  I doubt any of you can fully understand just how beyond offensive the statement is - so take a gander at this review - the quote is whited out so just highlight it to read what literally the last lines of this book are. (Be warned - don't read this if you want to keep your beloved image of LM intact)






I can probably count the number of books I've DNFed on two hands.  I just don't DNF. Ever.  So the fact that this one was a DNF should say a lot.  I was pretty bored/disgusted with the story already, but when I got to the vampire child/woman in a child's body I was like...NOPE. NU UH. NOT READING THIS.

Monday, September 29, 2014

If Disney Characters Were Cast: Tortall



This is an idea I've had floating around my head for months! It actually started because I was planning on doing a post where I peg Disney characters as musicians, but I got stuck and this came out instead haha!  I'm hoping to get the music post though, because what I do have nailed down is perfect.

So with no further ado, here's which Disney characters I would cast in the roles of Tamora Pierce's characters from Tortall!  (The names link to quotes that I think nail down their characters)




So...confession time.  I haven't actually seen Brave (blasphemy for a self proclaimed Disney obsessor I know!), but from what I have inferred about Merida, she has the same tomboyish, headstrong behavior Alanna has, and is excellent at combat?  The curly red hair doesn't hurt either :-)




Flynn Rider by bechedor79
By bechedor79

Charming? Check. Rogue? Double check.  Besides, Flynn is almost as good as the King of Thieves.  He's perhaps a bit more suave, yet at the same time clumsier, than I would pick for George, but in all other ways he's a perfect match!




Once Jonathan has grown into his role as king, he's a pretty standard dude.  Eric is similar in that, other than with his dog Max and torturing Grimsby, he doesn't have any outstanding character traits either.  So this one is going solely on description - black hair, bright blue eyes, and a strong, straight nose?  Sometimes I wonder if the artist who came up with Eric read the Alanna books!




The Wind... by alicexz
By alicexz

This is another one where I feel like the looks suit the description (although upon browsing Tumblr I have discovered that apparently Thayet has always had really pale skin - I've always imagined her with dark skin! Whatevs. I'm sticking to my image).  Thayet and Pocahontas are both princesses in a complicated cultural situation who choose to help their people by leaving to another country.  Esmeralda was a close second for this one, as she's is deeply invested in her people's well being, but I felt personality wise she was too saucy for Thayet haha!  Thayet seems to be somewhat more reserved, making her a better fit for Pocahontas.  Plus she has a super close friend the way Pocahontas does, which I've just realized is kind of a rare thing in Disney movies.  All the bffs are animals!



Buriram Tourakom

Kidagakash by Elentori
By Elentori

While Buri isn't a warrior princess - she is a high ranking noble warrior, so I think that's close enough!  Both are highly skilled warriors who don't trust easily (although Kida's not quite as stubborn as Buri is).



Roger of Conte


By AlexandriaMonik

Charming, attractive, and utterly unsuspected by pretty much everyone, Hans is the perfect fit for Roger. 



Keladry of Mindelan

Fa Mulan by Ry-Spirit
By Ry-Spirit11234 

Although Mulan in many ways could be a good match Alanna, what with all the gender bending, Kel and Mulan are much calmer people.  Both have to mask how they feel constantly, and in general are very centered, focused people.



By Shricka

Other than the red hair (and you'll see what with the white washed Disney characters, it wasn't possible to stick to people who looked the part), Ariel is also spoiled and feels restless trapped in her current situation.  She just wants to have fun!  And spoilers she also decides to leave her home for a completely different culture that she's fallen in love with.




Hipster Aladdin redraw by kyri01
By kyri01

A loveable rogue like Nawat, he's no professional thief like Flynn/George.  He also feels like he needs to change who he is to get the girl.  And in case you were wondering, he's my favourite love interest out of all Tamora's works.  Although George sometimes wins in these contests I hold in my head. Stop looking at me like that.





Saraiyu and Jasmine are both very complicated characters.  In many ways both are like Ariel/Aly - they're all supremely spoiled girls.  But Saraiyu is more fiery like Jasmine, and she is determined that her life will be one of her own choosing, and not one set by political manuevers.  She wants to help people on her own terms, and she only wishes to marry for love.




disney Fanart portrait princess the little mermaid ariel beauty and the beast Belle Disney Princess SORT OF realism Digital Painting disney fanart THIS IS SO EMBARASSING drawing is hard Disney fan art

Ok, so originally Belle was going to be for Numair (because who says the characters have to match gender?), but then I ended up using Pocahontas for Thayet, so Belle is the obvious choice for Dove.  Perhaps the most introverted of all the Tortall characters and Belle for the Disney princesses, as well as both being giant book lovers, clearly they are the same person. 




This post is getting a bit too long now and the other characters I have plotted out don't have much description, so for what it's worth I could see Elsa as Imajane, Captain Lyle as Rubinyan (the same very rational, no one sees him as a villain reasons as why Hans and Roger are a good match), John Smith as Liam Ironarm, and Gaston as Bronau which is probably one of my favourite picks actually haha!  They just love themselves so much!

And for you Daine and Numair lovers out there - don't be offended! I just honestly couldn't think of good picks for them.  I've always had a hard time nailing down Daine's dominant character traits, and Belle was the only person I could think of for Numair and she was taken.  Any suggestions from you guys?

So what'd you think? Any people you would switch around?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meme: The Book Blogger Test

So I was nominated by a ton of people to do this so long ago...that I don't remember who nominated me (sorry!).  I knew it was going to come in handy, as I have no reviews I feel like writing and no creative juices flowing for anything else (plus I'm addicted to doing these). So here goes!




1. What are your top three book pet hates?

- Slut shaming
- Best friends that could be substituted with card board cut outs.
- Unhealthy love obsession (aka being willing to sacrifice yourself for instalove boy and vice versa)



2. Describe your perfect reading spot.

I read pretty much anywhere I can - although I usually gravitate towards the comfy places like the couch or my bed.  If I can read outside though, I do it any chance I get since I so rarely get to go outside.  That being said, I spontaneously went hiking a couple weeks ago (right after a job interview so I was completely inappropriately dressed for hiking.  The entire sole of my shoe fell off when I left haha!) and I found this amazing spot!



 It's basically a giant rock in the middle of a river.  Ok, more like a stream.  But still, it's awesome!



3. Tell us three book confessions.
  • This has gotten better since I've started reading ebooks...but I'm almost incapable of reading a story without reading the last few pages before I actually get there in the book.
  • I leave books open on the floor all the time...
  • Sometimes when I get really into a book I start reading faster and faster...and then I miss important things.  HARRY POTTER SPOILERS Like the fact that Fred dies at the end of the last book.


4. When was the last time you cried during a book?

Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1)

 I'm listening to Tyger Tyger in the car, and HOLY COW this book was not what I was expecting!  I won't give any spoilers, but there have been some really heartbreaking moments so far, and it has been incredibly well done.  So make the answer to that probably on the drive home last night haha!


5. How many books are on your bedside table?

So...I don't really have a bedside table.  But I usually have a book or two on my bedroom floor because...I'm a bit...messy...



6. What is your favorite snack while you’re reading?
Ummm....I eat all the time while reading.  Apparently I'm the only one haha - I eat dinner and read on my computer, or I snack on whatever is feasible to eat without looking at the food and read a book lol!



7. Name three books you would recommend to everyone.


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1)

(A book that proves that sci-fi doesn't have to be dry and that classics can be funny)


The Handmaid's Tale

(A book I think everyone should read not only because it's great, but because of the social issues it brings up)


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

 (A series I just can't imagine anyone disliking)



 8. Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

Since I have four bookshelves, and they're all only my absolute super favourite books, I'm picking an entire bookshelf.  Because I'm a known cheater when it comes to these things.


The top shelf has my really special books, like my grandmother's copies of the Jane Austen novels, my grandfather's Vanity Fair and Little Women, my brother's LotR, and a copy of my family's history.  (The book case underneath this bookshelf has all my antique fairy tale books, but I did say I'd leave it at one case).  The other shelves have copies of my favourite books (that aren't mixed between hard and paperback).



9. Write how much books mean to you in just three words.

An endless adventure.


10. What is your biggest reading secret? 
 
Err...I feel like I've already told them all!  I guess that my ratings system doesn't mean anything at all?  Well I mean it does, but I fluctuate so much on how much I feel about books that my Goodreads ratings for things aren't always the most accurate, because they're often in comparison to a genre, or my instant emotions, or my emotions upon pondering, or compared to the book I read before it...so basically they're really unreliable haha


And I nominate everyone for this! I feel like everyone I know has already done this so..if you haven't, make me feel better about not doing it and send me a link so I can check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In Which I Must Have Landed in a Terrible Parallel Universe or: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park


Summary

Goodreads:  Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords' influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Parkis one of Jane Austen's most profound works.


Thoughts

Person who is inhabiting my body right now - who are you and where did you put Elizabeth?  How is this even possible?!  I LOVE JANE AUSTEN.  That has been a defining fact of my life for well over a decade now.  And yet, here I am, and I freaking hated this book.  Not mild dislike, not meh feelings  -  hated. If I rated on pure feels this would be a one star.  But I can't justify rating this book lower than some of the other books I've rated two stars (although this is making me rethink my lack of one stars so far this year). Because it's still well written and whatnot, it's just...this plot sucks! 


Be warned, spoilers follow!

This book is so moralistic, and I actually think Maria Bertram's story might have been more sympathetic to discover.  I mean how sad is it that she's fallen in love with a man who toys with her, goes after her cousin, then retoys with her - but still doesn't love her?  In her place, don't you think she would have believed he loved her and would marry her?  Why wouldn't she think that? In another love story, it wouldn't be terrible she married someone else and then had an affair - if she was the main character, it would simply be tragic.  I think I would have connected with that story more than this one, which really punishes her for these decisions, even as the narrator acknowledges that it isn't just a fling for Maria - she truly loves Henry.  She'd be a much more sympathetic leading lady.

That being said, I don't dislike Fanny, but she and I are definitely opposed in our core beliefs.  A lot of people have a problem with her character because she's a super goody-goody. Which I don't disagree with at all, seeing her character develop from being very withdrawn to blossoming into a character who is much more open - actually because of Henry Crawford, but more on him later - is beautifully done.  There's nothing wrong with her exactly, but as I tend to gravitate to more bold heroines, it's not surprising she's not one of my favourites.  I think a lot of her opinions are spot on. For example, I agree that Mary isn't a good match for Edmund - but it's less to do with the moral reasons and more to do with the simple fact that they have entirely different interests/life goals.  And unlike Fanny, I don't think Mary's reaction to Maria/Henry's affair was appalling - she simply wanted to do what was best for her family, and...well I guess I just would have acted and believed the same things as Mary.  I think her reasonings and reactions were smart (and even though it was perhaps not wise to confess her thoughts on Tom's being ill...when your entire future is based on your husbands income and place in society...doesn't it make sense that she'd be interested in what Edmund's future changes might be?  I'm kind of used to that kind of thinking in my historical fiction!)  And since Mary is Fanny's foil, I'm automatically on the opposite side of the spectrum here.

As for the love interests...I'm sorry but Edmund is boring, and he totally doesn't deserve Fanny.  He spends the entire book mooning over Mary - to Fanny.  And then after all that, all we get at the end of the book was - yes he was super sad about Mary, and when it was appropriate to move on he did, and he realized...oh yeah Fanny is pretty cool!  THAT'S TELLING, NOT SHOWING JANE.  You are better than this!  There was no gradual change of heart we saw, and there was no love confession.  NO. LOVE. CONFESSION.  How can you go from reading things like:

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” 

And most especially this:

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you."


To a simple summation of what happened! 

But...but...I was promised a love confession!


Seriously this change of heart happens in like the last few pages of the book, and all of a sudden they're married! It reads like an epilogue, actually.  If they are supposed to be the main romantic focus here, I want some character development here! Not having super intense events happening (the scandals happen all together and towards the very end)...and then it immediately diffuses into - these people were happy, these people weren't here's a quick version of why, the end!  It's like she skipped the entire falling action bit that's supposed to go between the climax and the conclusion!  So you really don't feel like Edmund ever really loves Fanny nearly as much as she loves him.  And that makes me unhappy.  Edmund's character never evolves from start to finish in the book.  He is literally exactly the same person at the beginning of the book as he is at the end, and since he's a main character I think that odd, since Fanny, Henry, and Mary at the very least go through some pretty major character development.  And since he's supposed to be the leading man...I expect more.  (Or as I put in my goodreads review - Edmund is a boring sissy boy.)

On the flip side, I thought Henry Crawford showed real promise.  It feels like with his attention to Fanny, he is the one who really brings her out of her shell.  While she's comfortable with Edmund, it never goes beyond his company.  With Henry, she starts being more open with everyone.  He also woos her, and makes her feel like she's the only one he is into, and it feels like he's truly falling in love with.  Which is why it comes as such a shock when he runs off with Maria - even the explanation for that doesn't feel like it fits his character.  While I can see he is a guy who is easily distracted (which is not an attractive attribute of his) - if the explanation is that his pride was stung by someone he's already won, wouldn't he still be after Fanny more than after a woman he had already made his conquest once?  That reasoning just doesn't ring true to me.  He woos Fanny despite her significant (but relative) poverty in comparison to her cousins, despite meeting her family.  He still woos her.  And I honestly don't believe it's because she kept saying no - I think that peaked his interest at the start, but I feel like he really did fall in love with her through the process.  No, he isn't a perfect love interest or character.  I feel as far as Jane's "bad boys" go, he is actually not so bad.  That being said, I totally could have been convinced of Edmund as a love interest...if Jane had ever made it feel like more than just a one-sided love of Fanny's part.  (Actually, maybe those parallels with Maria are on purpose, but because Maria is less moral she doesn't get a happy ending?)   The whole ending just felt like it was really half-hearted and lazy.


I'm going to go re-evaluate my life now.  Things are different now that there's a Jane Austen book I loathed.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More


This week's topic is really fun, and is definitely helping me sort my TBR list a bit more!  Pictures of the books are the one book I've read and link to reviews of the books!



Looking for Alaska

Next Book:  I'm still preparing myself for the trauma that will come with TFIOS, so I'm thinking Paper Towns is a more likely second book.




Fangirl

Next Book: Interracial relationship with a Korean boy/white girl?  It's like Eleanor & Park was made for me.




The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Next Book:  The Hand That Held Mine seems most similar to The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, but honestly it'll probably be whichever one I come across first!




Seeing Red

Next Book: How to choose?! She deals with SO many things I love and want in my books!  Mental illness, acceptance, I just...I want to read all of them. Now. Mockingbird, Quaking, and The Absolute Value of Mike all just look so amazing!



Cat Patrick



Next Book:  Forgotten has mostly good reviews for reviewers I trust, so it seems like a good place to start!



Sarah Beth Durst



Next Book: How is I only discovered her last year? She has so many books, and they're in so many different genres!  I'm a sucker for fairy tale interpretations, so Into the Wild is easily at the top of the list, as is Vessel.  It doesn't hurt that Tamora Pierce rated both books 5 stars!


Martine Leavitt

Keturah and Lord Death

Next Book:  Wow. Martine Leavitt's books are mostly very different from this one.  The Dragon's Tapestry is the first of what looks to be her only other fantasy series.



Jodi Lynn Anderson



Next Book: May Bird and the Ever After looks very different from Tiger Lily (which is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read), but it also looks like a ton of fun!



Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

Next Book: Well that's easy enough - Lola and the Boy Next Door.
Next Book:  Definitely the sequel to this, The Princess and the Bear, although The Rose Throne also shows lots of promise!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Day in the Life (22)



Guys, guys, guys this week is AWESOME!!  Guess what I got! Guess, guess, guess!


If you guessed...
...A CAR

Displaying photo 1.JPG

You'd be right :)




If you also guessed...
...the ToG series
Displaying photo 2.JPG

You'd also be right :)



But seriously, I'm crazy excited about both things!  And I've been waiting for those books for freaking TWO. WEEKS.  And now that I have a car I can go hiking and camping!! (Not that that's why I have a car.  It's just an excellent bonus!)

I also got to go to the National Aquarium this weekend with my boyfriend (how crazy is it that it's in Baltimore?).  I adore aquariums, and Friday nights it's half off, so I was pretty much in heaven!  Sejoon is hoping to perform a nonprofit performance at the aquarium on Earth Day which would be super awesome if he can organize it!  Also yay, more aquarium visits for me :D

So basically this week rocks.  The end.



This has been playing at the gym and it's so addicting!  


Bookish Links

The Harry Potter Reread: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 5 and 6 - Ahh my heart!  Emily pulls out some of the most heart warming, adorable things you might not have thought of before (or at least I hadn't despite my dozen or so rereads). SHUT UP THOSE AREN'T TEARS.  Chapters 7 and 8 have some more heartwarming Neville/Lupin thoughts too *sniffles*
“I SOMETIMES THINK WE SORT TOO SOON” - Wow. This is really thought provoking, and I haven't quite sorted my thoughts on it yet, so I suggest you read it and see what it makes you re-evaluate in your books!
Confession Time: As a kid, I hated reading. - See?! This is why we need more than just heavy classics in school!
A CYNICAL ✰ HIGH SCHOOL ROMANTIC COMEDY - YES!!! Two of my all time favourite mangas, and I am SO glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about these characters!
“I Guess Comics Aren’t for Me” - While I don't have a particular "notebook incident",most artwork in comics makes me uncomfortable. Clearly it's not that I have a problem with art and words - I read manga like crazy. 
Margaret Atwood’s Next Book Won’t Be Readable Until 2114 - On the one hand..this is awesome!  But on the other...whyyyyyy!! I want to know! I want to read those!
LITERACY STORY - This is a truly heartwarming post, and once again I wish that Twilight was less reviled than it is, because it has been such a door opener for thousands of people who otherwise wouldn't be reading right now.
We Read Too - There is an app for book diversity!! How awesome is that?!
Talking about sexual violence in young adult literature with a teen book club - Wow. This week has really had some amazing posts - I definitely recommend this one as well!
JK Rowling's Patronus Would be a Pine Marten - Oh people in the comments, you truly get me #JKSilvertongue
What's Right With Hermione - Yeah Hermione power!!


Non-bookish Links

Six Leading Ladies of Shonen Anime Part 1: The ’90s - I don't watch a lot of shonen, but this list is definitely going to change that! Part 2 deals with the 21st century.
Does the Marvel Cinematic Universe Play to the Female Gaze? - I've actually thought about this before, and I would argue that it does.
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture - I am deeply conflicted with this - on the one hand, the author is spot on in much of his critique, but he his examples are also flawed. I'd definitely read all the way to the end before getting too pissed off. And I can't say that his argument brings anything new - hasn't it always been known that adults don't know what they're doing? It's not recent, and it's not just American, so it kind of invalidates everything he's trying to say.
Losing My Self In Three Different Ways - Nafiza talks about identity

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm Dying, Someone Please Send a Lifeboat: Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Pegasus (Pegasus, #1)


Summary

Goodreads:  On her twelfth birthday, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to her own Pegasus, Ebon. For a thousand years humans and pegasi have lived in peace, relying on human magicians and pegasi shamans to converse. But close friends Sylvi and Ebon can talk. As their bond strengthens, can their friendship threaten to destroy the peace between their nations?


Thoughts

Guys. We need to talk.  I think I need an intervention.

On one hand, this book was everything I love/expect in a McKinley novel.  It's definitely not for everyone - the character development is very internal, there's beautiful world building done - but if you're more of an action packed plot driven person then this book is definitely not for you (and nor is Robin McKinley probably).  And I loved it. I mean, I'm a huge fan, so this is the sort of book I salivate over.  None of this is unexpected, and if you have enjoyed her books, then I would definitely recommend this.  


BUT.

AND IT'S A BIG BUT.


THAT ENDING ASLDKJFA;TJIROAWIAOWIRTH




I literally threw a tantrum. I had a full on melt down, complete with laugh/crying and arm flailing/leg kicking.  My boyfriend was rather alarmed and somewhat bemused. 


Basically how I entered the room after finishing this book.



 I would be upset about an ending like that in ANY book, but this is worse somehow.  I feel betrayed.  I had been warned that there was a ridiculous cliffhanger in this, and in general I'd say if Robin has a weakness, it can be her endings, but it's Robin. I've read all her books! HOW COULD SHE DO THIS TO ME?!!?!?!?  About 100 pages from the end, the pace really starts picking it up and gets really, really intense.  And then about 10 pages from the end it hits full throttle and OH MY GOD HOW. WHY.  It feels like she cuts off in the middle of the MOST. CLIMACTIC. SCENE.  Why?!? Just why? And it was published FOUR YEARS AGO. Which means that there's no sequel in sight, especially as she's published a book and has an ongoing serial.  THESE THINGS HAPPENED BEFORE THE SEQUEL.





I just...I feel hurt. And confused.  Not that this changes how I feel about Robin McKinley, because she remains one of my all time favourite authors and that will never, ever change.  I just...I feel a little bit like a puppy who just got kicked and it doesn't understand what it did wrong and why its owner doesn't love it anymore.



...I'm totally not overreacting at all.



I feel like I'm drowning. In despair. Someone send help.