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

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You'd be right :)




If you also guessed...
...the ToG series
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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.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Top Ten Underrated Authors


In my search to find underrated authors, I discovered that most of the people who popped into my mind were not of the same genre...so I decided, well, let's not do one genre then!  So here goes - top ten underrated authors from 5 genres!





Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Probably best known for her book, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland writes historical fiction about art and artists.  Girl in Hyacinth Blue traces a famous missing painting across centuries, tying together generations of people.  For those of you who prefer focus on one person, both The Forest Lover (Emily Carr, a late Victorian Canadian artist) and The Passion of Artemisia (possibly the only female artist of the Renaissance) follow the lives of arguably two of the most influential female artists ever.  All of her books are beautifully written and extremely interesting, even if you know nothing about art or the time periods these are set in and she remains one of my all time favourite authors (and is on my auto-buy list!) 



Through a Glass Darkly (Through a Glass Darkly, #2)

Karleen Koen is a new discovery for me - Through a Glass Darkly was a spontaneous find, and I immediately devoured it, its sequel, and the prequel, all set around the beginning of the 18th century.  These are big books, but they are rampant with everything I love in my historical fiction books - complex characters, plots, intrigue, treachery, heartbreak, humour, and best of all - they're clearly well researched.  As of this moment I've read all but one of Koen's books, and I'm hoping to remedy that soon!  (Goodreads lists Through a Glass Darkly as book 2, but that's because for some reason they put the prequel as book 1, and it's really not necessary to read the prequel for understanding of the rest of the series)







A Cat Called Dog

If you're a cat lover, you need to read this book.  I'm going to keep this one short since I've already gone gaga over this book, but seriously.  It's funny in all the right ways.




Asterix the Gaul (Asterix, #1)

Ok this one is a pretty old series, and some of my European readers might recognize them, but I was feeling nostalgic and decided to put them on the list (especially since I ended up not choosing a manga selection this week). If you like old school comics at all, the Asterix and Obelix series will be up your alley.  An added bonus?  How many (funny) comics do you know set in ancient times? (Or maybe I'm wrong and there's loads - in which case hook me up!)







The Nature of Jade

I've already put Deb Caletti on a list like this one from last year, but you know what? I don't care, she deserves the attention!  If you are a Sarah Dessen fan, you should check out Deb Caletti's books.  I personally resonate more with some of her subject matters (my favourite book, pictured above, is about a girl with anxiety), and I think her prose is among some of the most beautiful I've ever read, so if you're a sucker for pretty prose the way I am, she should definitely be on your TBR list.



Admittedly, This Is All is the only book I've read by Aidan Chambers, but woah is it a fantastic experience!  I will give the disclaimer that it is giant, but in my opinion well worth it.  As with John Green, I think some readers will be really moved by the writing, and others will just find it pretentious, so I leave it up to you whether you think it is well suited for you.






Clare B. Dunkle

The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, #1)

I wouldn't tote The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy an all time favourite, but it's definitely had a few rereads! It twists a lot of traditional tales and expectations as far as beauty is concerned. I'd recommend it for readers who enjoyed Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern or Keturah and Lord Death.



 Jacquelin Carey

Kushiel's Dart (Ph├Ędre's Trilogy, #1)

I have never been as surprisingly impressed with a series as I have been with Jacqueline's Kushiel Saga.  It's broken up into two trilogies, and while I have enjoyed the first trilogy more, the second trilogy so far has not disappointed with the wide scope this series has set up.  Hands down, this has the best world building I've encountered in a series, and its marriage between fluid sexuality, power, and religion has completely turmed everything you would expect in a standard fantasy series on its head.  The relationships are complicated, particularly between the main villain and heroine, as well as the romantic, platonic, and filial relationships.  It's intricate and is playing the long game, and while this is not a book I'd recommend for everyone - I'd definitely give this to serious fantasy readers who don't mind (or perhaps want) some rated M material.







City of the Beasts (Eagle and Jaguar, #1)

Isabel Allende is a world renowned author - her works have been translated into over 30 languages, and she is known as the most read author who writes in Spanish .  Despite both literary and reader acclaim as an author, few people are aware of her young adult series.  I've talked before about how few books are set outside of the US/UK or are written by non US/UK authors, as well as non-Western fantasy settings (although this book is more magic realism than fantasy - it's set in the South American Jungle!), and this series has both.  



Abarat (Abarat, #1)

Some of you may have heard of Clive Barker before - he's a popular author in the horror genre, and is the creator of Hellraiser (for those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, he has a similar style to Neil Gaiman's).  Most people don't know he has a YA series as well, and it's by far one of my favourite series of all time.  I've fangirled over this series in about a good half of these TTT posts. So I'll try and keep it short and to key words: the most creative setting I've ever come across, stunning art, complex characters, flips expected tropes.  I've already talked ad nauseum as to why more people should be reading this series, so click the link and  feast your eyes on some of the most amazing artwork I've ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Day in the Life (21)



Not much of note this week, mostly just lots of working and cleaning.  My boyfriend flew in on Tuesday and it's been really, really awesome having him back!  No more 4 month intervals of not seeing each other :)  It still feels weird (and awesome) getting to see him every day!  Also he cleaned the kitchen for me, thank the lord.  I don't know if I mentioned how disgusting the apartment was when I moved in but it was....honestly beyond words.  It was hell cleaning the rest of the apartment, but even the bathroom wasn't as bad as the kitchen and the bathroom was...*gags*.  But now I have a nice shiny clean kitchen and I didn't have to touch it!  I should be getting internet in my place this week, so expect more regular posts and commenting from me (assuming I don't schedule posts for the same day like I did this week. *bangs head against the desk*)


I'm feeling in an opera mood and am still in a place where I can't listen to music (and therefore don't know what I'd put here), so here's some La Boheme!  (...and hopefully it's decent quality as I can't verify)


Bookish Links

Power Corrupts? Absolutely! - A look at fairy tale women in power.
Which 21st Century Comics Will Be Remembered in 50 years? - Even with my limited knowledge of comics, this was really interesting!
ON GRIEF AND BOOKS - Christina recently lost a friend, so this is a really personal post, but it's one that resonates with me deeply because of some of the things I've dealt with in the past few years. 
What If Harry Potter Was Sorted Into The Other Houses? - Bahahah this is hilarious!
Autism helped me become an internationally published author - This is a really insightful and touching post by author Corinne Duyvis.
Reading Helped Me Overcome A Racist Upbringing - Brings to mind a Tamora Pierce post I wrote a while back, so I'm glad that my beliefs on this front are being confirmed!
Great YA Books Without Romance - Something I LOVE! Some of these definitely do have romance, but it takes a backseat to everything else going on with the story (which is my favourite way of dealing with romance, and why this list has more than a few of my all time favourites on it)
Faultless in Spite of All of Her Faults: The Unlikable Heroine - I LOVE this post! It expresses so many things I've felt, and even more I've never thought to articulate before. Highly recommend.
The Sex - Carrie Mesrobian (and whoever the author of the post is) held a class where they discussed sex and violence in books with teen readers and writers.  The results are very interesting (although probably unsurprising except in how open the teens are, as I'm sure almost all of us had the same thoughts when we were teens). Another highly recommended read!
Adult Fiction? - Apparently this "trend" of adults reading "not adult books" is really, really not as recent as people are touting!
Bridge to Terabithia Inspired a Song (And 6 Other Things You Didn't Know) - Well this is pretty cool!
 

Nonbookish Links

17 Things about ISIS and Iraq You Need to Know - For someone who has no tv and limited internet access, I haven't been following world news very well.  This lays out the conflict in detail, but is really easy to understand
Brain Orgasms, Spidey Sense, and Bob Ross: A Look Inside The World Of ASMR - I had no idea this was a thing, but judging by the description it's something I've experienced, so it's pretty cool it's not just a weird quirk of mine!
Large-Scale Hack Lands Stolen Nude Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence & Other Celebrities Online - A discussion of responses to these incidences, and what it says about us that things like this happen.
Sexism, Sexiness and Sexualisation - This is awesome!  It can get confusing with talk of objectification, but wanting to flaunt things as well, so I thought this discussion was spot on in clearing some of that up!
Disability, Self Esteem, and Sex - This. Read this.  It's important.
The Strange Tale of the North Pond Hermit - Very strange, and very cool.
Deaf for a Day - John Barrowman went deaf for a day to promote Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and talks about his experience.
Heteronormativity, fantasy, and Bitterblue – Part 1 - Malindo Lo has a ton of posts on her blog dealing with LGBT in books, and this was a really interesting look at Bitterblue.  Shannon sent me a link to all Malinda's LGBT posts, and it has been really, really awesome reading so far!  Definitely recommend browsing if this is an issue that is important to you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Day 06 - Favorite Book of Your Favorite Series

Martin the Warrior (Redwall, #6)


I've mentioned before the the Redwall series was a huge part of my life growing up.  With twenty-two books in the series, it's no surprise that after about book 10, they all start blurring together.  I have vague remembrances of enjoying one more than another, but in general the stories were always pretty solid, if not memorable.  There is one exception in this series, and ever since my first time reading it (and upon many, many rereads of this series) it has always stood out as my absolute favourite book of the lot. 

Martin the Warrior is the sixth book in the Redwall Series, and it is the first time we go back to the history of the world Brian Jacques has set up.  In the previous books, you hear constant mentions of Martin the Warrior as a true hero to almost mythic proportions.  In the previous books it's been years (from what I recall it's basically at least a century), and it doesn't matter how far down the generations the books have taken us, Martin the Warrior remains a strong part of their history.  So when I discovered that we'd finally get to hear about this Martin fellow I was pleasantly surprised as it was a new twist to how the series had been progressing (aka, chronologically). 

This book has everything that I've come to realize that I expect in a fantasy novel to be worthy of my favourites shelf.  It's got heartbreak and tragedy, but humour and love, platonic and romantic relationships, epic worldbuilding (and food porn!), complex relationships...it's amazing. I'm not expecting anyone who hasn't read this story to read it, but in the interest of not spoiling it anyway, BEWARE SPOILERS.

Martin's main love interest is killed and my guess is that it was probably the first time I'd had a main character/love interest die (although Charlotte's Web may have happened before this, so who knows. But definitely the love interest dying bit.)  It was one of the only times in the series that a main character dies, and I was absolutely heart broken when I finished this book.  I always find that the books I found as a child that were more than just a happy story are the ones I was really drawn to.  (Hmm. Maybe this is why I am so morbid?)

END SPOILERS

And now I think I'm going to start rereading these books...I'm getting nostalgic haha

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd - Holly Black & Co.

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd



Summary:

GoodreadsAcclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside) and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!



Thoughts

I rarely read short story anthologies because I have such a hard time getting into them, but I saw this was at the library so I thought...well why not?  And I'm so glad I did.  As I read each of these stories I kept feeling like "This is my home. These are my stories." - even when they were in a "geeky" matter I didn't know anything about.  With the exception of maybe two of the stories that I read, I wholeheartedly loved everything in this collection (even if I kept thinking all the characters were gay and then discovering I'd gotten the genders all wrong. Ah the pitfalls of short stories in first person).

This collection seriously has something for everyone - cosplaying, role playing, academic debate, LARPing, computer games, dinosaurs, fanfic, theater, Buffy - you name it, it's in here.  And I think it's amazing how drawn into each story I got into, even when I didn't have a clue about what they were talking about, I well and truly cared about the characters.  Which completely bypassed all my normal issues about short stories - since I tend to be pretty character centric, it's hard for short stories to be able to draw me in enough to really care about the characters because the stories are...well...short.  Some of them I actually would have LOVED to have gotten a whole novel out of the story - David Levithan's in particular. (Which shows me that I need to go pick up one of his books immediately. It's not like they aren't already all on my tbr list anyway, I just haven't done anything about it yet. Which will be remedied. Soon.) His was also the only one featuring anything other than a hetero relationship, which actually made me kind of sad because as I mentioned earlier, I actually assumed 75% of the relationships were same sex at the start of the stories haha.   A lot of the stories also had a focus purely on family or friend relationships, and you all know how much I go gaga over that sort of thing!

Sadly I didn't get this post up before the book expired on my kindle, so I lost all the notes I'd taken on the stories I loved, but since there were only two I didn't, just assume that the rest are all pure love for me, because they are.  The only two I didn't love were Scott Westerfield's and Barry Lyga's.  Scott Westerfields was just kind of...weird. And psychotic.  It creeped me out too much to love haha, and while I loved the concept of Barry Lyga's (his was about dinosaurs), the ending definitely didn't make me feel good.  But only two out of an entire collection is like a crazy difference than what I'm used to - I tend to be the reverse!  So I'm glad I picked it up and highly recommend this, regardless of how you feel about short stories or books about geeky things (because let's face it - if you're reading this blog, you definitely will be able to connect to at least a few stories in the collection regardless).


TL;DR

I don't read short stories. Ever. I get supremely bored by them.  But this collection was well worth picking up, and I'd recommend it to all readers because there's something a story in here for everyone.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Day in the Life (20)



Once again I got caught up in moving stuff, plus I started work (although since I'm actually writing this while at work, I suppose that's not the best excuse.)

Reasons why working as a receptionist at a gym is awesome:

1. I am writing this post as I work
2. If I actually ever wanted to work out, I could do it for free. Except that I don't go to gyms, so it's not really an advantage
3. I don't have internet right now, so getting to use it at work is awesome
4. I actually got so bored I LOOKED FORWARD to cleaning the equipment. And then went and cleaned a bunch of equipment I didn't need to. Because I was that bored. Maybe this will start applying to my apartment?
5. I'm meeting not musicians, which is interesting

Reasons why working as a receptionist at a gym is less than stellar:

1. Minimum wage ain't going to pay all the bills
2. Did I mention I was bored?
3. It is not inspiring any creative posts at the moment, so...hopefully I'll come up with something to post soon...(other than this. Obviously.)
4. I haven't had body image issues in YEARS...but when you have to wear pretty much leggings to work every day, it does things to your self esteem. 

...Ok I'm done procrastinating.  I'll go do the real blog post work now! 

Sadly due to my inability to remember where I packed my headphones and only being able to get internet in public places, no music this week.  Here's a video of Michael Rooker dancing like Groot instead!






Bookish Links

Authors
A Thing or Two About the #edbookfest - Sandra talks about meeting some of her favourite authors - (SARAH J. MAAS!!!)
The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Sarah J. Maas - Speaking of SJM...want to read some kooky Q/A's?
Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Gritty" Memoir Sounds Historically Accurate and Deeply Upsetting - This sounds freaking fantastic!! Look at me getting all excited for a nonfiction book :)


 Fantasy
 The Extraordinary Cases of Histories of Fictional Worlds - You all know how into world building I am right?
 Fairytale's Most Wanted: The Five Most Well-Known Character Types - And in keeping with my fairy tale obsession...
My Favourite Fantasy Characters - Featuring two of my own favourites, Luna and Tyrion.
Which Hogwarts Professor Are You - I'm Hagrid! I may have posted this already, but who cares it's fun!
6 More Folktales from Around the World to Read to Your Kids - Did I mention I'm obsessed with ALL fairy tales?


Thought Provoking
I Got the Message Loud and Clear: Reading Isn't Cool - I am sure most, if not all, of us can relate to this post. I was lucky enough that for the most part my family is a reading family, or used to those of us who are, so I haven't gotten this much from my family. But I definitely got it elsewhere growing up/.
Animorphs: Why The Series Rocked and Why You Should Still Care - If you haven't read this series and are into diversity, sci-fi, HARDCORE life stuff, just...can everyone go read this series please? This article is AMAZING and you should read it. I loved this series when I discovered in 5th grade, and I'm so, so sad they aren't going to be reputting the books out there on the shelves. As much as I'm trying to purge books, I'll definitely have to start collecting them because they are books that everyone needs to read.
Questioning the Lack of Diversity in Historical Fiction - TBW bring up some excellent points - the conquerors write the histories.
Comic Books and the Question of Diversity - Kwame talks about some of the discussions that have been going on about Guardians of the Galaxy.


Miscellaneous Bookish Things
Manga Review: Maid-sama - While this isn't one of my favourites, it's definitely a ton of fun, so if you are looking for a new shoujo check out Christina's review, I think she really captures the essence of the series.
Tahleen's Favorite Audiobooks - Having just completed my VERY FIRST audiobook, I can second Etiquette and Espionage!
100 Happy Book Days: Days 1-10 - Nafiza shares the first 10 books in the #100HappyBookDays challenge
The Giver, and How it Kind of Surprised Me - Amanda reviews The Giver movie.
New York Public Library’s hilarious archive of librarians’ harsh children’s book reviews - “Be sure to read the chapter about the three girls and the banana.”
Favourite Fictional Couples - The Midnight Garden talks about some some of their favourite (And least favourite) couples.  And they have some of my favs! (FROI AND QUINTANA FOREVER!! Plus Chaol/Celaena. Obvs.)
Non-Medieval Historical Novels - The Book Wars talk about some awesome books and why you might like/dislike them



Nonbookish Links

“Undercover Colors” Is A New Nail Polish That Detects If Your Drink Has Been Drugged - There's been a lot of lashback because some people are saying that this is promoting rape culture, and I'm sorry...but they're wrong. Yes, in an ideal world we should be saying just don't do it (and aren't they saying that anyway? In the article it says that they want to make men scared to use date rape drugs instead having women feel fearful), but that's just not going to happen. And if we have the tools to take preventative action, I'm all for it. I'm really excited for this product and if I had money to donate, I would.
Something in Red: Scarlett Johansson’s SciFi Appeal - Like sci-fi/fantasy? Like Scarlett Johansson (or dislike)? Good. Read this. It's interesting.
My Own Happily Ever After - Jamie gets personal and talks about her relationship with her husband over the years, and it's inspiring and adorable and yay!