Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tough Traveling: Beloved Mounts

tough-traveling 

This week’s topic is BELOVED MOUNTS
A combination of suggestions from several people, as it seems many want to talk about the various animals that people in fantasyland ride. So be they horse, bear, or other let’s talk about favorite rides.



Iorek Byrnisson from His Dark Materials

Art by: Sidonie

First off, is there anything cooler than riding a polar bear? (Ok maybe a dragon).  And Iorek is one badass polar bear.  And aside from Pantalaimon, possibly my favourite character in this series.  Technically I suppose he's really more than a mount, but Lyra DOES right on his back for a large portion of the book, so I'm counting it.



Buckbeak from Harry Potter


Fierce and loyal, Buckbeak is basically the epitome of Gryffindorness.  




Art by: minuiko

Ahh, my favourite crotchety horse!  I think it's fitting that my favourite Tamora Pierce horse it matched with the Tamora Pierce heroine that I think is the most underrated.  I also think Peachblossom is very much like Kel is deep down underneath all that Yamani training - I'm betting she'd be a lot more openly cranky all the time if she hadn't been raised to be so calm.




https://courtneytrowbridge.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/the-hero-and-the-crown.jpg 

Speaking of crotchety old horses, this list would not be complete without Talat.  He and Aerin are both misfits (She because of...everything, he because he's injured and can't be a warhorse anymore), and I think a huge portion of Aerin's character growth comes from helping Talat recuperate. She never would have gone on the whole adventure in the first place without him.



Art by: Dan Milligan

Obviously there had to be a dragon on this list. And as my first favourite dragon (who can also be considered a mount - after all I could hardly put Smaug on this list could I?), Ramoth is the obvious choice. 



Bree (Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah) from The Horse and His Boy

Art by: Pauline Baynes

Since all the horses can't be crotchety, I think the silly, vain Bree is an excellent addition to this list!



Falada from The Goose Girl


I kind of think of Falada as Ani's soul mate. I wish soul mate didn't have romantic connotations (is there a better word for this?) - but it really was like they were linked through their souls.


 ...I didn't mean to end on a tragic note, but this is the order I thought of the characters so...here's an adorable baby turtle!



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Six Books That Changed Drastically Upon a Reread


So I actually DO reread books from my childhood. Like all the time. Not to say that there aren't plenty I've been wanting to get to, but I thought it would be more fun to go this route.  This isn't really a top ten list, because some of the book improved, some definitely did not, and some just revealed some stuff that HOLY MOTHER how did I not notice that the first time around?!


Hana-Kimi by Hisaya Nakajo

282356

This was actually one of my favourite mangas when I first started reading them.  I may have been unduly influenced by the gender bending, because my response to gender bending is always YAY GENDERBENDING!! It definitely didn't hold up on a reread.  Not to say that it was bad - it's one of the few mangas I can remember being pretty positive towards homosexuality and the lead character isn't too aggressive/rude/broody that just...UGH I get about a lot of lead interests (particularly in K-dramas and manga).  But it definitely felt heavy on the romance which surprised me because I remember loving the side cast so much that I guess I forgot how IN YOUR FACE IN LOVE it can be.



Deerskin by Robin McKinley

535530

I won't talk too much about this one because I've already talked about this book (and this experience) before, but this was DEFINITELY a case of....dear god what did you think was happening here?!? Because it certainly didn't process in my brain the first time I read it!



Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

1885

Despite the fact that this will always be in my list of absolute favourite books forever, I actually have a complicated relationship with this one. I read it every year, and every year I flip flop between swooning and LOVING it...and then the next year feeling like Elizabeth married Darcy for his money/lands or at the very least that Darcy loves Elizabeth a lot more than she loves him.  It comes with where her change of heart starts appearing, and there's a certain line towards the end of the book that I can't recall off the top of my head, but it definitely can be read as Elizabeth just going "Oh well, he's not so bad I guess I'll marry him."  (Or at least that's how my modern brain interprets it every other year). I've never had a book change EVERY TIME I READ IT. And not in a wow-you-see-more-layers-every-time way like Harry Potter.



Redwall by Brian Jacques

450225 

I originally had this book pegged as a great pick for the seven year-old (Mouse monk warriors! What's better than that?) because that's around how old my brother and I would have been when we found it and the seven year-old is super into enacting battle strategies.  Then I started to reread it just to be sure...and holy WOW is it violent! Like...I knew it had battles and the like...but I wasn't expecting it to be quite so...

"Skullface had time for just one agonized scream before he fell. The iron-shod cartwheels rolled over him. He lay in a red mist of death, the life ebbing from his broken body. The last thing he saw before darkness claimed him was the sneering visage of Cluny the Scourge roaring from the jolting back-board, 'Tell the devil Cluny sent you, Skullface!'"

And that's just on page 25, and probably the least nasty death hahahahaha. Yeah we're holding off on this one...




84119638330 

I loved The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, and I can't even tell you how many times I reread it.  I will say that neither of these books were my favourites when I was young...but it wasn't til I was older that I saw just how problematic they are. Like holy cow is The Horse and His Boy racist and WHY is that a logical reason to exclude Susan in The Last Battle. Whyyyy????  (I know, I know, product of the times etc.)




1

The first time I read this I was SUPER not ok with it.  It felt like Rowling just shoved a ton of Ron/Hermione romance angst down your throat after not really having any romance at all in the previous books and that the horcruxes weren't set up at all.  Each time I've reread this (three times, to be exact) I've warmed up to this book. It's clear upon a reread, that I was just straight up wrong about the horcruxes.  And while this will never be my favourite of the series and I still don't love the angsty romance...well, isn't that more or less how teen romance goes?  That would be like me saying the 5th Harry Potter book is crap because the main character was acting like a 15 year old boy ACTUALLY WOULD ACT. (Let alone one who has just witnessed a schoolmate being murdered before his eyes. Among the many, many other things going on in his life.  Was it a fun time? No. Does that make it terrible? No.)  




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reader Problems Tag

                       Created by About To Read (and I was tagged by Kirsty at Studio Reads)




1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
Well, right now I'm trying to just read the books in my apartment. It's....great.... It does make narrowing books down a bit easier at the moment though. Usually I either binge read a series, or I browse the library ebooks for a mood read. (I let myself pick ONE book that was not originally on my Goodreads TBR. I've got to put limits on myself or my TBR pile will NEVER go down.  Let's be real, it's still not happening but...at least I'm trying?)

2. You're halfway through a book and you're just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
I very rarely DNF. In fact I very rarely even put the book back to come back to later, although it's been happening a lot more frequently since I've started blogging.  If I'm really, really not into the book I'll usually just skim or at least read the ending so I know what happens. (Because even if I hate a book...I NEED to know!)

3. The end of the year is coming and you're so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

AHAHAHAHA!! Are you one of my Goodreads friends?  Have you stopped my feed from showing up because you get bombarded by like 20 picture books at a time? (WHY WON'T GOODREADS LET ME STOP UPDATING MY FEED IF I ADD THE BOOKS ON MY PHONE?? I have the settings turned off so it won't...yet still it does.) I introduced the 5 year-old to Goodreads. I'm 50% ahead on my challenge already.  Yeah. That's not going to be a problem.

4. The covers of a series you love do not match. How do you cope?
Honestly this wasn't something that bothered me until recently. And it still doesn't bother me that much...I just want all the covers to be pretty.  All my books are so worn from rereading that it's not look like much to begin with though.


5. Everyone and their mothers love a book you really don't like. Who do you bond with over their shared feelings?
I usually have someone on my side.  Shannon reads a lot of the same books I do, and we're usually more or less around the same rating on books. And if we're not, there's always at least one blogger friend who agrees with me!


6. You're reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?
Umm...I don't know how many times I've had to tell people at the gym.."Oh I just have...allergies...." 

I do not have allergies.  But I do try and censor what I read in public so there is less crying haha

7. A sequel of a book you love just came out, but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?
I used to reread a series EVERY time a new book came out.  (Just think how many times I've read the first Harry Potter book. Especially since I've also reread the series entirely. Twice.)  I don't have time for that anymore, so I often wikipedia/google the plot and hope it was a big enough book that SOMEONE has written a fleshed out description of what happens!

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people no when they ask?
Ahaha...politely you say?  I straight up say....you can't borrow that.  Sorry, not sorry.  Mostly I don't care - I totally shove books at people.  BUT there are a few books I don't ever lend out.  Like Pride & Prejudice.  Books that I know I will die if I don't have them RIGHT NEXT to me available to read if I need to read them. (I am regretting lending out my Alanna books...I NEED THEM SO BADLY. Thank god for ebooks. And libraries.)

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?


I've had this problem quite a bit in the past year, and it's...become like bacteria. You make medicine to stop it...but then it learns how to work around that medicine and become SUPER BACTERIA.  Usually I just reread a book I love, and nine times out of ten that still works for me. (Rereading Daughter of the Forest last month is exactly how I got out of my slump last month!)  If that isn't working, I'll try reading something that is totally my THING (i.e. fairy tale retellings, etc.)  But sometimes it's something completely out of the blue - the slump before that I binge read any historical romance novel I could find.  And sometimes I have to accept that I need to go play Pokemon or watch a tv series instead. So I've become pretty adept at coming up with new plans haha


10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?


I very, very rarely buy books I haven't read.  Half the books in that middle row: The grand total of brand new books I've bought in the past 3 years -  Throne of Glass, Lynburn Legacy, and Graceling series.  So usually it's just when I already own a series and KNOW that I'm going to reread it.  But now any books by the above authors will be auto-buys.  


 1 1. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long they sit on your shelf before you get to them
Ok if it's a book I've pre-ordered (i.e. the above books), then immediately.  Otherwise....let's just say that The Wee Free Men (which I LOVED) traveled with me through four cross-state moves.  So...that was probably a good 6 years haha.  This is why I'm TRYING to force myself to read the books in my apartment! It's disgraceful!




And I'm tagging anyone who hasn't done this tag and wants to!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Musings: Author Deaths


Image courtesy: http://n3cdn.co.uk/

I'm sure by now many of you know that Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series (and many, many other things) died last week.  I'm actually a little surprised at how upset I was to hear about it.  I think part of it is founded on a personal matter - my uncle was diagnosed with a very rare form of early-onset dementia.  He died very young, and I tend to avoid any books/movies with Alzheimer's or dementia because it upsets me.  So I imagine a lot of that is coming into play with Terry Pratchett.

But it's also really weird when you've just found something you really, really love, and when the creator dies...it feels a bit like you've missed the chance to get to know them.  Which is...weird.  Because I can still get to know him the way I would have when he was alive - I plan to read pretty much all of his books at some point, and him being alive has nothing to do with it.  I likely never would have met him or had any contact with him at all, so it's not like I actually would have a personal relationship with him.  And yet...I still feel that way.  Does any of that make sense?  And if I, a very new fan, feel this way I can't imagine how his long term fans are feeling.

And it got me thinking...how will I react when my favourite authors die?  Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley are both in their 60's now.  And I imagine I'm going to be absolutely devastated, because as I've mentioned before, they really have shaped my life in a way. It feels a bit like I grew up with them - not as close or important as family, but kind of like that kooky uncle you don't ever see.  They're still IMPORTANT even though I've never met them. And...how do you explain to normal people that you're really upset because some author you've never met has died?  Because I can't imagine if I found out that I would just be a little sad and move on...it's not something I do well at haha.  It's all a bit morbid and I feel a bit weird mulling all of this over, but there you are. Death makes me contemplative in all the uncomfortable ways.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Day in the Life #32



So...I have this incredibly unlucky talent. Anytime there is a parade in the city I'm currently living in, I don't know about it. So I literally walk out the door and am MOBBED by people and it's like I've just stepped into a Disney World line or something. It's super disorienting. (And also I ALWAYS work on said days. I made it on time today somehow though!)  So...happy early St. Patrick's Day everyone!

On the other hand there's a reason I try to avoid parades (particularly the St. Paddy's day ones) - here's a look at a typical St. Patrick's in Chicago. In fact, that's only a small part of Chicago.  (The 10:45 PM report miiiight be the best thing I've ever read on one of these.) I LOVE reading the posts on St. Patrick's Day! This blog does a report every year and it's always hilarious. And now I can doubly enjoy it since I am in no danger of having to wander out in that mess!  I do feel really, really bad for the cops though. It's a rough time for them.

Otherwise..not much has been happening on my end. A lot of grunt work in getting things together for some job applications/auditions, the cats are still fighting, and it's finally sort of warm!  So you know...mostly good stuff?

Also I saw the cutest thing EVER:




Bookish Things

Discussions

LITERARY REFLECTIONS: WHERE MY GIRLS AT (PART I) - I had never actually noticed this before - I mean I definitely noticed that bisexuals are very rarely depicted in any media I've come across, but I hadn't noticed that there are significantly more gay men than lesbians.
Fixed by Camel: On Gender, Books, and Children - This is something I'm thinking a lot about as I have created this picture book reading monster, and I'm trying to pick up at least one book that he might not have picked up because it looks girly. Not sure about the success so far though...
No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer - I can't remember the last time I was so infuriated by something. It's just...SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.


Specific Books/Authors

Book Event—Marie Rutkoski and Sara Rees Brennan - I would have KILLED to go to this!
QUEEN OF SHADOWS COVER REVEAL, TOUR DATES, (MINI) QOS EXCERPT, & MORE! - I'm not even going to say anything. This is my reaction: :-D !!!!!!!!!!!
The Winner’s Crime‘s Marie Rutkoski On YA Heroines, Romance, and That Next Book - Such a good interview! And I waaaant this book!!!
Read Two Never-Before-Seen Fairy Tales by the Grimms’ Favorite Folklorist - Because I will always post all things fairy tale.
Brian Jacques’ Spirit Lives on, Here is a Weasel Riding a Woodpecker - YES!!! I seriously squeed when I saw this.
“Are they going to say this is fantasy?” (Ursula K. Le Guin) - So this doesn't make me feel any fonder for Kasuo Iziguro..

Terry Pratchett

Revisiting Terry Pratchett’s Discworld taught me why I love reading


Blogging

Why Books and Cats are the Perfect Companions - This is so cute!  ...and so true. You try reading when an 18 pound cat decides that he needs to be closer to you and decides to lay on top of your arms!  Lily is usually content to just curl up in my near vicinity though, so she's a bit better with the reading.
A POETIC BREAK - I just cannot express to you how gorgeous Nafiza's writing is. Go read this.
How a book club is helping to keep ex-offenders from going back to jail -
Authors Who Need To Collaborate Their Fantastic Braincells And Cowrite Books - I thought I was just going to nod like "yeah that would be pretty cool"...and I was SO WRONG.  I NEED these to happen. ALL OF THEM.  (Rick Riordan and Lemony Snicket? Veronica Roth and Pierce Brown?? I'd read the hell out of those books!)
The 8 Essential Kinds of Books That Every Kid Should Own - I couldn't agree more! (And it's nice having a list without specific books)
15 YAs That Get It Right - Books on difficult topics that just really nail the experience.
How a book club is helping to keep ex-offenders from going back to jail - Incredible.
Writing Women Characters as Human Beings - A really great post! One of the best ones I've seen on the topic.
PSA: BOOK DRIVE FOR CHILDREN WITH AN INCARCERATED PARENT - This is really, really awesome! 


Nonbookish Things

Is Ladyhawke the Best Fairy Tale of Them All? - This is a REALLY interesting look at how LadyHawke is constructed (trope wise) and how it throws them all out the window.
Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk Raising Funds for New Series: “It’s the Quickest Way to See Us Back on a Spaceship” - OH MY GOD GUYS!!! It sounds like in a lot of ways it'll be like The Guild (As far as seeing famous geeky people in a geeky show). I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!
It’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s 18th Anniversary! Share Your Favorite Episode Here - Yup this pretty much covers all my favourite episodes - Once More With Feeling, The Body, and Hush.
Marvel Movies Need to Step Up Their Soundtrack Game - Yes, yes SO MUCH YES. Soundtracks are absolutely imperative for me to really, really love a movie.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tough Traveling: Fae

tough-traveling


Each Thursday, inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ we have in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
This week’s topic is FAE
Surprisingly not in the Tough Guide.  How can this be?  Fairies are a constant in the fantasy world and it is time they get their own week.  Give us your Fae, be they sweet or nasty.

This is a weekly post that I often see over on Stephanie's blog, and I've been meaning to join in for AGES.  And this week is Fae, which is MY THING, so how could I not do this one?  (Pictures link to the books' Goodreads pages!)


I'm very picky about my Fae. They aren't magical cute beings - they are nasty, tricky, completely inhuman, and have intricate long plotted power plays. And generally think mortals are toys.  So it's clear who fills the most obvious and who I think absolutely nails this the best:

46777 

Holly Black is the absolute monarch among Fae stories.  Her character nail the brutality of the fae.  I hold all my other faerie tales up to this standard, and while many have come almost up to this level, I still haven't found anyone who's bested this series for it.  (Incidentally my rules for vampires are generally on the same principle as my fair folk*, and Holly Black has written one of the only vampire books that qualifies for this. I also haven't read many vampire books, so there's that.)

*It depends how the world is set up.  Vampire Academy books for example are built on a completely different mythology than normal, and The Finishing series is also not supposed to be that way.  But traditional vampires as we've come to think of? I don't want de-teethed vampires. They need to be bad. (I'm not opposed to the occasional swoon. But only if they're still bad.)

That being said, there are still plenty of Faerie books I've loved.



7740225



This book was totally not what I was expecting! I thought it was going to be fluffy fun times...but this book takes the Fair Folk seriously. As they should be taken.  So I was pleasantly surprised (but of course had my heart stomped on too...) when I started this one.






6278015



I'm pretty sure Fae show up in all of Marillier's book at least to a small extent.  These fae aren't brutal the same way Holly Black's are, (Or what I've seen of Kerstin Hamilton's) but they are impassive to humans and far-thinking. And they play a bigger role in the later Sevenwaters books.  





6308379

Ok, admittedly I actually didn't like this book. That ending PISSED. ME. OFF.  That being said...Brom SUPER nails the brutality and child-like cruelty that I picture my Fae having.  I mean solidly nails it. Which is why it's on this list even though I didn't like it.  In fact, these Fae are right up there with Holly Black's ... I just got angry enough at this that I refuse to include on my list of...pretty much just Holly Black. Or really, definitely just Holly Black haha!'





1351706


Ok, technically it's been so long since I reread this one that I can't remember what the Fair Folk were like in it. But since I've loved it since I was a child, my guess is that they are just as tricksy as I like...but perhaps not as brutal. Being a children's book and all.  Though you never know, they very well might be - children's books are often not all fun and games, and this one definitely deals with some STUFF.





2798739



Ok another disclaimer - I read the first three books of this in high school and some how have exactly 0% recollection of this. Except that I'm pretty sure I really, really liked it.  So statistically speaking...it's likely this had Faeries I like? It definitely has faeries, but if I included every book I read with them, this list would never end.







Honorable Mentions

The Raven Boys - So technically this doesn't have any Fair Folk.  But there are certain aspects of the mythology (I don't want to say much because SPOILERS. So. Yeah.) that definitely feel like a book with the Fair Folk.
Neverwhere - Gaiman doesn't have what I would traditionally consider Fae in his books...but they all have characters that are very, very similar.  This one definitely comes the closest to what I'd call Fae. Actually I probably would call them Fae. But I've already put it down here, so it's going to stay down here.
A Great and Terrible Beauty - The way magic works and what you find in the other world definitely feels Fae. This might actually also technically belong not on the honourable mentions.  WHATEVER I'VE BEEN UP SINCE 5 AM. I can put these wherever I want them!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tell Me Tuesday #3


  





Guys....
I have a confession to make.

I...went to the library website to check something. And...well...one thing led to another..and I just couldn't stop myself.

I checked out like FIVE EBOOKS.




I know what you're all thinking - ....so what? Why would we care about that? But Elizabeth! You promised you weren't going to check out a single book until you read the books you have at your place (at least enough so you could move the ones out of the suitcases)! We're so disappointed in you!!

But hey, at least I actually finished a book of my real shelves this week before I broke down? AND I'm reading a book for review (who cares that the third book in this series is now out. Or soon to be out.  AGH I'M A FAILURE!!)


So on that note..here's what I've been reading!

77566 16069030Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)



I finished Hyperion this week, and while I struggled in the beginning, I'm really glad I read it.  For once I was actually probably more invested in the mechanics of the story telling than the story telling itself. Not that I didn't like the story telling, I was just fascinated with the author's choices in how he chose to tell the stories.  I'm definitely looking forward to making my way through this series!




The Winner's Curse was so much fun! I loved the time Rutkoski spent laying the groundwork for world building.  The romance wasn't my favourite, but I also didn't hate it, and I pretty much loved everything else.  Unfortunately...it doesn't look like my library is getting the next book!!! Usually they show up as on order if they're coming out soon...and now it's out...and so far NO. PENDING.  So it looks like I might have to buy this one if I want to read it *sighs* (And I at least haven't broken my no book buying ban. Yay me!)




I'm a little under 3/4 of the way through Red Rising now. I am really enjoying it so far, but I'm in the middle of something that I am currently not sure how it is going to fit into the story as a whole. And it's a verrryyyyy long tangent, so it must not be a tangent. I guess I was just not expecting this much time being spent on the (war games) part?  It's still good though, and brutal. I do like that the author is having the MC deal with some gray areas, it makes it much more believable.





And here's what I checked out from the library (and therefore will be reading soon....just because I wasn't supposed to doesn't mean I shouldn't take advantage of it, right?)




266607


 Because I've been waiting FOREVER for this book to be available so I can finish rereading the series.





6809488




Because I haven't read a romance novel in what feels like FOREVER (I'm pretty sure it's only been a month haha) and Tessa Dare's books are NEVER available at the library!






A Mad, Wicked Folly



Because it's had great reviews and I just wanted a fun historical fiction read. (And apparently the Tessa Dare novel wasn't going to fulfill that need?)