Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Cat Called Dog - Jem Vanston

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.





Summary


Dog is a cat – the only problem is that he doesn't behave like one! Instead he wags his tail, sticks out his tongue and yaps in a manner which is distinctly puppyish. Something has to be done; the pride of cats is at stake!

Against his better instincts, George, an old ginger tom, reluctantly decides to take on the enormous task of teaching the confused kitten how to behave like a proper cat. In the company of the cheeky Eric, the mysterious and exotic François and the elegant Miss Fifi, George commences his teaching of the cat curriculum, including lessons on the feline 'Holy Trinity': eating, sleeping and washing. But things do not go smoothly. Maybe Dog will find it impossible to change and unlearn all his bad habits?


Favourite Lines

"And now we shall consider the purr - which falls, rather neatly into two distinct categories - the anticipatory purr and the thankful purr."

Dog had no idea whatsoever what 'anticipatory' meant, but thought it might have something  to do with ants, of the type that sometimes walk all over your fur and itch you when you're asleep.  This sounded very odd indeed and nothing much to do with purring.


Thoughts

*SQUEES* Oh the adorableness!!! I don't think I've ever read cuter, funnier story than this. 

A Cat Called Dog is a perfect book for all ages.  Literally.  It's perfect to read to your children who are old enough to have interest in being read chapter books (and they will laugh, and laugh, and laugh), it's perfect for children who are an intermediate level of reading, and it's perfect for adults.  It's like the best kid movies - kids think they are the BEST, and adults love all the subtle humor that goes over the kids' heads.

At first it only seems like entertaining reflections on cats (and their thoughts on humans).  Honestly that probably would have been enough to me because the fluffiness distracted me from other needs in a book.  But if you do need a plot - give this book time and you'll get a surprisingly action-packed storyline with plenty of crafty plotting on the cats' parts.

There's an ensemble cast, primarily of cats, and have I mentioned yet how much I love ensemble casts (oh I dunno...only  A BILLION TIMES).  There's Dog - a strange adolescent cat that has the mannerisms of a dog, George - a loveable old ginger tom who has decided to take Dog under his tutelage, and Eric - a hilarious stray, and Francois - a cat who has traveled all over the world.  These are the cats that make up the main cast.  They are joined by The Lady, who is George's two legs and who he absolutely adores, as well as The Man (who absolutely does NOT have The Lady's best interests at heart!)  Not only must the cats help teach Dog how to act like a cat, they must save The Lady from The Man's dastardly plans!

I think part of the reason I love this story so much is that I have a big ginger tom who I love very much, and in many ways resembles George.  When I was in high school, my mom adopted another rescue cat because she's always wanted a tuxedo cat, and he seemed like the perfect fit for us.  (I think she would probably recant that statement now, but he is a very sweet cat!  He's just ridiculously a bit skittish....and shaped like a bowling ball).  I am sure they took ages to get along, but I can't remember that bit very much.  They adore each other.


  Murphy, my ginger, grooms him every day.  They sleep curled up next to each other.   Wherever Murphy goes, Tristan goes.  (It's also why I think I am the only human being Tristan will come hang out with.  He gave up his vendetta against me because he finally acknowledged I was a worthy human for his elder brother).  And in this book, it was so easy to see Murphy in George and well...it might be a stretch to imagine Tristan as Dog, but I can see the mentor relationship anyway.But sorry, I got on a personal tangent.

Here's why you should read this book:

1. It's adorable.
2.  It's about cats.
3.  It's very insightful about both cats and humans.
4.  It's hilarious.
5.  It's clever.
6.  YOU DON'T NEED A REASON, JUST GO READ IT.  Especially since the author mentioned in the intro that he would be interested in writing more books about the cats if interest was shown!  So go show interest!  I want more cat books!  (And if they aren't about Dog and George, you might break my heart, Mr. Jem Vanston)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

River Secrets (Books of Bayern #3) - Shannon Hale



 Summary

Razo has no idea why he was chosen to be a soldier. He can barely swing a sword, and his brothers are forever wrestling him to the ground. Razo is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy.

But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, Razo discovers the first dead body. He befriends both the high and low born, people who can perhaps provide them with vital information. And Razo is the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.


Newbery-Honor winner Shannon Hale returns the reader to the intrigue and magic of Bayern, first introduced in her critically acclaimed novel, The Goose Girl. Enter a world where even those with no special magical skills find in themselves something they never imagined.



Thoughts

HA - as soon as I mentioned wanting to know about Conrad, he shows up in the first chapter!  So now I know.  He's a soldier in Bayern's Own.  Which is totally not a spoiler because come on, first chapter!

Razo is the main character in this book, which is definitely a change for Shannon Hale.  Luckily I felt Razo really worked as a main character - he's so funny!   He's a big pranskter, and it's amazing how little he realizes about himself.  He reminds me of myself...I usually feel a physical reaction before I can interpret the emotion involved because I'm just that dense sometimes haha.  I LOVED when he found out *SPOILERS* that he was in love with Dasha - he says by far one of my favourite lines! "How could you miss it?  Just the sound of her voice makes my chest feel tight and my face gets hot and my mouth goes dry whenever she's near.  It's getting bad, all I have to do is see her and I'm already thinking, what does she want? What can I do for her?  She's got some power over me, there's no question, and what else could it be?" Hint - he's definitely not talking about being in love haha! *SPOILERS* So that may be part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much, I easily relate to Razo's character more than either Isi or Enna.  For those of you who were worried you wouldn't be seeing your favourite characters, no worries!  All our main characters from the previous books make an appearance, and there's plenty of Enna and Finn to go around!  In fact that was probably my other favourite part of the book since I've made it no secret that Finn is probably my favourite character from the previous books.

This book as a whole was definitely a different feel from the previous two books.  It's more of a political murder mystery sort of thing.  Tira and Bayern are trying to have peace talks, but someone is sabotaging it.  And it looks like a fire speaker is involved...uh oh!  Tensions run high, assassination attempts are made, sneaky political maneuvers are undertaken.  All in all it's the sort of plot I'm easily drawn into, so yet another reason why this book was so easy for me to enjoy.  Despite it dealing with death and war and whatnot, it was delightful, fun read as per expected of Shannon Hale. 

Overall

This book has everything one expects of a Shannon Hale character (except that it has a male narrator) - it's fun, quick, and has GREAT characters with great character development.  And as an added plus you get some time with your favourite characters from the previous books!

Would I recommend it?

Definitely!  It helps if you've read at least Enna Burning first, but you could probably read it on your own if you really wanted to (although I think you'd really miss some of the subtleties and references, as well as how awesome the side characters are).  All in all if you're a Shannon Hale fan, (or Gail Carson Levine and the like) definitely check this out!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Elizabeth's Pearls of Wisdom

 Ok you totally need to go to this site because there are more adorable pictures of this cat in pearls.  Seriously, it's the best thing ever.

Some of you may remember some of my other adventures with using all natural products in my hair.  Needless to say all my ideas are so, so moronic great!  You should totally do all these things too!

This week, I gained yet another nugget of wisdom as far as my hair care goes.  I'll give you a quick background (I promise not all, my decisions are bad - these ones were good!)  I currently use the "no poo" method to wash my hair.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it basically means that baking soda/water is my shampoo and vinegar/water is my conditioner.  I won't go into all the details why, but basically there are two important things:

1.  So much cheaper.  Seriously.  So. Cheap.  
2.  No chemicals, yay! 

So yeah, those are GOOD ideas.  I promise I'm not being sarcastic!

But since I started going no poo, I've obviously turned into a HAIR WIZARD and all my ideas are fantastic!

Note the sarcasm.  That cinnamon didn't get all the way out of my hair for like a whole week guys.  And the olive oil?  *shudders* I looked like I had been living in a vat of grease for a week!  WHO THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA GUYS?





It's winter time here, and no poo can be drying, so I've started to use deep conditioners every week or two.  I usually use a yogurt/egg yolk/honey recipe (that works WONDERS).  This week I thought to myself...I wonder why you only use the yolk?  I'm feeling lazy, who needs to separate the yolk?  Psh only LOSERS OBVIOUSLY.  

And then, my dear readers, I learned why.  To put it succinctly...I cooked an egg inside of my hair.  Yep.  That happened.  I could have had my hair for breakfast.  Of course I didn't notice this until I started brushing it and it was feeling pretty weird. 

Cue many, many re-showers a la the cinnamon incident.  


 So now all of you know too!  In case you were thinking of washing your hair in a hot shower with a whole egg....DON'T.  Or a bunch of olive oil.  Or cinnamon.  Just in case you were considering. 

And that concludes this session of Elizabeth's Pearls of Wisdom!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier


Summary

GoodreadsGwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! 

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.


Thoughts

First, a disclaimer.  I think you should take into account all the things I love in this book are pretty much all the things everyone else hates and vice versa.

Let me start with:  I LOVE Gwyneth's character!  She reminds me a lot of the girls from Finding Cassie Crazy, and considering that is one of my favourite books of all time, it's a huge compliment.   That being said, everyone else seems to hate that about her (I'm judging by Goodreads reviews), saying she acts like she's twelve.  Ummm...when was the last time you spoke to a 16 year old/were 16 years old?  Did YOU act like Katniss or Katsa when you were 16?  I know I didn't!  I was just as silly and chatty at 16 as Gwyneth is, and she IS 16.  I think we are just saturated with YA heroines who act older than their age (I usually pretend they are at least 18, if not older since I have hard time thinking of them as younger partially because I am no longer that young, but also because they act WAY more mature than any 16 year old I've ever met).  I'm in no way criticizing these heroines - they are perfect for their stories and I absolutely adore both heroines I named.  I just think we shouldn't expect ALL our heroines to act that way.  It's not like she has any sort of tortured background that would shape her to be anything OTHER than a normal 16 year old.  I thought it was absolutely refreshing that she doesn't transform from a silly 16 year old to a mature badass as soon as she finds out she is a time traveler, especially since this book only spans a few days!  I mean that would be ridiculous, people resist change, so no one is going to transform that quickly!  It was really great that the book didn't solely focus on the time traveler part, so you get lots of time with her family and best friend as well as school life.  I think she is likely going to start some character growth, but I love that it is being done gradually, and you are really being shown all aspects of her life.  I also loved that she doesn't know what makes her special to the love interest or anyone else, but she doesn't go on and on about how undeserving she is like a lot of other characters in these situations do (pointed look at Everneath).  Basically she reacts how I would imagine I would act:  still the same person she was before, just very confused and determined to make the best of it. 

On to other things I adore about this book - her best friend Lesley.  Lesley might be even MORE hilarious than Gwyneth is, it's hard to tell because they are PERFECT together!  And I love, LOVE so much that they are really best friends.  They tell everything to each other, Lesley is excited for Gwyneth about finding out she's a time traveler when Gwyneth is scared, Lesley is great for great brainstorming and general hilarity.  And as previously stated, they are REAL best friends, it's not one sided, so Gwyneth is constantly thinking of what Lesley would do, or trying to bring her back souvenirs from the past among other things.  I just...this is easily one of my favourite friendships of all time.  And again, their relationship is similar to that of the girls from Finding Cassie Crazy.  This is easily my favourite part of the whole book.

And then there's Gideon.  As soon I read the name Gideon, I knew it was him.  I mean honestly with a name like Gideon who else could be the love interest?  (And don't you think it's an awfully good name for a pet owl?)  I really disliked Gideon.  My bet is *SPOILERS* that he kissed her at the end because he's got some trick up his sleeve.  Otherwise WTH?  I mean they met in the span of what, two days?  And all of a sudden he's after Gwyneth instead of Charlotte?  Come on.  Not realistic. *SPOILERS*  He may be attractive, but he's arrogant, and not in an attractive way.  And he seems like a really two dimensional character at the moment.  I did like that Gwyneth was honest with herself about her feelings towards him.  She may have wanted to dislike him (in my opinion for good reason), but she knew that she found him attractive and accepted it instead of trying to deny it.  It was refreshing. I'll admit - I'm usually a total sucker for that.  The romance in Pride & Prejudice is one of my favourites...but it was really well done.  Too often I see authors try and spin out the hate/love for too long, even though it is SO CLEAR they know they are attracted and it's just dumb.  So basically I hate Gideon and I'm pretty sure everyone else loves him, so again take my opinions with a grain of salt. 

I feel like the book was too short, or the ending was abrupt, or both.  I liked the time spent with Gwyneth, meeting her friends and family, and the laying the foundation for what I'm sure is going to become important later (seeing ghosts).  At the same time I felt like Gwyneth was confused by the explanations and gave up trying to understand them too easily.  I also think it is why I don't really understand what is going on.  Honestly I feel like I didn't actually get a good grasp on what the mystery was just that there was one everyone kept talking about.  I mean I get the gist of it - evil guy, some mystery behind the joining of all 12 people, etc.  But I don't understand the how or why of anything.  And I think that's what this book needed to make me fall in love.  It was a great read, and I'm definitely reading the next book (which I hope will explain all my questions), but this book just didn't feel fleshed out enough.  Since I've been blogging, I've realized that perhaps I pay an abnormal amount of interest to world building.  It won't break a book for me, but it will absolutely make a book.  So in short, yes I think you should read this book, but you need to have an open mind for a silly heroine rather than a gung-ho sword toting one.  If you're cool with that, this is a really fun book!


Questions I have that you shouldn't read unless you've read the book because potential spoilers?

 - What role does seeing ghosts play?
- Are Paul and Lucy her parents?
- What's the secret that happens when you get all 12 together?
- How much does her mother actually know?  She had to have had the same reason as Paul and Lucy for not wanting her to see him

I am very intrigued to see how this is going to play out!  I can't wait to get to the next book.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sleepy Hollow: My new obsession

Let's be real, if you haven't heard of this show you have been living under a tomb stone.  Because I have heard of this show, and I live in a cave and every one knows only dead people haven't heard things before I have.  I kept hearing about it, and I saw they had episodes on Hulu...so I was like....just one episode...just one...


...so I sort of binge watched the first four episodes.  Oops?  But seriously, this show is awesome, and you should watch it, and here's why:



 1.  Ichabod Crane is HOT.  Let's be real, we all know what my priorities are.

 Ah yes, you are correct - I am a delectable specimen of a man with startlingly gorgeous eyes



2.  There is SO MUCH DIVERSITY!  And they aren't all side characters - our lead character is a black woman AND she's in a position of power.  Boo ya!


But wait there's more!  The captain is black, there's a Hispanic ex, and an Asian villain (ish).  So basically, this show rocks at diversity.


3.  It's spooky, but not scary which is perfect for me (the girl who got nightmares from a cartoon)


4.   Men and women can be witches.  Yay gender equality!


5.  It's already looking to have a large scale arc which I prefer (in every show except L&O anyway)


So far, it has a similar feel to Grimm....but way less boring (except for Monroe who I loved.  But not enough to keep watching that show).  In fact, I think if you combined Grimm and Supernatural, that baby would be this show (if Supernatural was all dominant traits and Grimm recessive, because I really, really didn't like Grimm.  So I'm only talking the very few things I loved about Grimm here).


Still need a reason to watch the show?  You shouldn't but here you are:



I completely agree, Ichabod Crane.

You're welcome.  Now go enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Musings: Age of Goodreads members

Wow.  So today I found out the ages of a lot of the people I've talked to on Goodreads.   

And I feel REALLY FREAKING WEIRD.  Or more accurately, I'm horrifed.



I'm twice some of these girls' ages!  I DON'T EVER FEEL OLD.  EVER.  I look like I'm 16.  I have been turned away from bars because they thought my ID was a fake.  I'm still in school - I can't be old! (Granted in comparison to the girls on goodreads, I'm in old people school but still.)

I've had a lot of totally normal conversations with these people.  I guess I just assumed they were all near my age?  And now I feel...I dunno...pervy or something.  It's not like I had NSFW conversations or anything with them it's just...I taught kids that age a couple years ago.  When I was student teaching, these kids were TOO YOUNG FOR ME TO HAVE TAUGHT.  And I'll give you a hint - I wasn't teaching high school.


Is it because my primary interests are in YA reading?  I mean I'm sure that has to be a big part of it.  But when I've joined other groups  - geared towards manga and music, I know at least the music group was DEFINITELY a bunch of younger kids.  (And then I left it.  Because you know, weird feelings.)

I seriously do not know how to feel about this.  Is it weird that I feel so weird about the age of members in my Goodreads groups?  Are any of you in Goodreads groups?  Have you run into this problem at all?  I started joining Goodreads groups because I was looking for people I could talk to about interests my other friends don't really have...actually, I guess the same reason I started blogging really.  I guess it never occurred to me this interaction might take place with eleven year-olds.  I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.  Please, someone out there in the big, wide world..make me feel better about this.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen


 

Summary

Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.


Thoughts

First let me start with this:  This unfortunately is going to be a short review.  I hit the CURSED COMMAND Z button again.  So of course it undid my entire post.  That I wrote a week or so ago, so I can't remember what I wrote.  I have got to stop doing that!  That's the second post in a week I've done that to!  In any case, on to my short review.

 
Why are there not more books like this out there?  Sarah Dessen has always played second fiddle to Deb Caletti for me, because as we all know I am an unapologetic fangirl for anything Deb Caletti has written.  That being said, this is the first Dessen novel that I've read that I feel is absolutely on par with any of Caletti's novels and would definitely give some competition for my favourite contemporary YA lit.

I'll be the first to say that I don't read very much contemporary YA.  In fact, disregarding my wild foray into Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty last month, I exclusively read Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.  I've been burned too many times.  They seem to feature backstabbing best friends (and they aren't even nice enough for it to seem legitimate that they ever would have been best friends!), and girls who abandon their friends and family for whoever the featured hot guy is.  The reason I love both Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen, is that while any of these things might happen, it is usually a backdrop for a larger issue, like abuse, depression, family tragedy, etc.  For example, in this novel - it has all those things I said I hated about contemporary YA.  And it was a GREAT book!  It's how these characters are dealt with.  For example, because of Ruby's family background, she is extremely closed to other people.  She doesn't open herself up and invest any emotion into her relationships.  I don't want to say much more on the subject as there are spoilers, but there is a turning point in the book where Ruby realizes the situation she is in with said friend partially happened because of how she related to people.  I can't really say much of anything I want to about the book now that I think of it because of spoilers!  So I'll leave you with this.  While the book HAS hot boys and bad bffs, it's not what the book IS.  It's just like real life - the same sentence is so easily applied.  This book is really about Ruby's growth as a person, allowing herself to trust people.  It's about how families shape you, and how you shape yourself outside of your identity within a family.  It's about families are not always who you are born to, but who you choose to surround yourself.  All in all, it was a really powerful book and I absolutely would recommend it to the few of you out there who haven't read it yet!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Rereading your favourite books: Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen

I've mentioned before that when I get stressed out I binge reread books I've loved.  This week started with Sabriel, but half-way through Lirael it turned into a reread of Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice series (which is odd since Lirael is my favourite book in that series, but it's pointless to try and resist reading cravings.  Or any cravings really, which is probably why my cheese mysteriously disappears anytime I drink...)



There's just something...indescribably wonderful about revisiting books that you've really, really loved.  I just finished the Trickster series and at the end I just curled up and sobbed myself silly.  It's a bit cathartic honestly, which is probably why I was craving them.  Trickster's Choice is just everything I love, and it's full of wonderfully snarky quips throughout the book.   Aly is such a delightful main character - she's scheming and clever, she can defend herself but knows that she isn't a warrior the way her mother is, she's attractive and she knows it (but not in an annoying manner).  There's also an ensemble cast which I always love because side characters MAKE a story.  And of course it introduces Nawat, one of my favourite characters of ALL TIME (and I feel like a horrible person because he totally could have made my TTT on the subject as technically he is a crow.  *Sobs* I'm a terrible person, how could I have forgotten him?!)  And he leads to some of my favourite scenes in this book - like where we meet Ochobu, the mage.  These scenes end up being so adorable (and hilarious)!

"Nawat, put that down," Aly told her friend, who had a secured a wriggling fish.  "We're leaving."

"But I just caught it," Nawat complained.  "I knew I could."

"You still know you can.  Let that poor fish go," Aly retorted.  "With all the bugs you've eaten today, you can't possibly be hungry."

She heard a sound and turned, frowning, to see what was the matter with Junai.  Her usually stoic bodyguard was actually trying not to giggle.

"If you only knew how strange that sounds," Ulusaim remarked.  "You sound like her mother."  He nodded at the red-faced Junai.

Nawat sighed and released his captive back into the stream.

Aly shook her head and strapped Ochobu's pack to the back of Cinnamon's saddle.  "Well, he has been eating a lot of bugs," she said, knowing that didn't explain anything.

These lines are often extremely insightful, or just true in a way a human would never thinking of saying.  In an earlier scene, Bronau makes some racist remarks about the raka (the native people of the islands, and the people of the village the characters are currently traveling through).

"Why does he speak of them that way?"  the crow man wanted to know.  "They are humans, just like he is."

"I don't think he sees them as just like him," Aly explained.

"He is foolish, then," said Nawat. "There are more raka than Bronaus."  

There are also constant hilarious lines as Nawat learns about human customs (especially those about courting).

Over the course of the book, you gain an understanding of the political and cultural ways of the Copper Isles, and you absolutely fall in love with all of the characters.  The book isn't all fun and games though, so be prepared to have tissues with you!  (Although I don't think most people are as big cry babies about books as I am, so maybe you won't need then, who's to know)



But where Trickster's Choice is funny, Trickster's Queen is powerful.  In fact, one of my favourite lines in a scene is just so powerful that it's stayed with me since the very first time I read it almost an entire decade ago (oh I feel old now!).

"Look!" Ulasim bellowed, pointing up to her.  His voice rang over the clash of weapons and the shrikes of warriors and Stormwings.  "Look at her!  There!  See our future?  See how we can be great?"

It's not the line on it's own that makes this scene so moving.  It's the scene and what happens before and after this line that makes this impact so amazing.  And it's the knowledge that these people believe so deeply and strongly for this woman, and how much she represents to them.  It's hard to describe but it's really deeply felt, particularly in this scene.  For some reason the scene also reminds me of a line Lokeij spoke about how Sarai reminded him of Gunapi the Sunrose goddess.  I'm not entirely sure why it does, but regardless of the reason it makes the scene even more emotional for me.

Overall this book is darker than the previous book.  It feels like Trickster's Queen is in a way and expansion of Trickster's Choice in that it has a similar plot, just deeper, darker...BIGGER in all ways.  This is not to say it's the better of the two books, as I love both equally...I can't really explain it well.  They are two very different books.  I guess I'd say that Trickster's Queen takes everything from the previous book and stretches it.  Nope, still not making sense.  I give up haha!

 I will note, that despite me calling this book darker, I'll never call Tamora Pierce's works particularly dark.  Overall they are usually balanced more to the happy side of the scale, which is probably another reason I love them.  They might rip your heart into tiny little pieces at times - like the end of this book, for one *SPOILERS* Ulasim, Ochobu, AND Junai??  THE ENTIRE FAMILY?  Really?*SPOILERS* but you know there is going to be a relatively happy ending at the end of the day.


Are any of you chronic rereaders?  I honestly think my biggest hindrance in getting through my TBR is that I keep wanting to reread all of my favourite books!  And I'm always stressed out which is usually a rereading trigger for me, so it's a constant losing battle.  If you do reread, what are your go to books?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Everlast (The Chronicles of Nerissette #1) - Andrea Buchanan

I received a copy of this book from Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review. 


 Summary

Allie Munroe has only ever wanted to belong, maybe even be well liked. But even though she’s nice and smart and has a couple of friends, she’s still pretty much the invisible girl at school. So when the chance to work with her friends and some of the popular kids on an English project comes up, Allie jumps at the chance to be noticed. 

And her plan would have worked out just fine…if they hadn’t been sucked into a magical realm through a dusty old book of fairy tales in the middle of the library. 

Now, Allie and her classmates are stuck in Nerissette, a world where karma rules and your social status is determined by what you deserve. Which makes a misfit like Allie the Crown Princess, and her archrival the scullery maid. And the only way out is for Allie to rally and lead the people of Nerissette against the evil forces that threaten their very existence.


Thoughts

 First, and most importantly, ignore the first paragraph of the synopsis.  Allie is not like that at all!  In fact she didn't even want the "popular kids" in her group project!  She loves her friends, wants nothing more than her friends, and other people don't really get more than her passing interest.  Ordinarily a blurb like that would be enough to turn me away from a book (I was half expecting a repeat of the MC of Everneath), but it was the second paragraph that really drew me in.  And I'm so glad I gave this book a chance! (And also that the publisher granted my request of course!)

I immediately liked this book, partially because Allie is clearly nothing like the Allie of the blurb.  But she's got a foster mom that she cares greatly for (points for good family!  And foster family is not because of bad parenting!  I won't say why for spoiler reasons and because it's not 100% revealed in this book), and she's got two best friends she would do anything for.  We get hints about the truth behind the other world right from the prologue, so this book definitely doesn't hold back with pacing.  In fact I don't think we spend more than a chapter in what I would call "our world".  Within the first chapter or two we are transported to Nerissette where all the action begins!

The world building is awesome!  It's clear the author has a very detailed plan of how the world is set up.  I would have loved to see even more revealed in this book, because a lot of it is quickly explained, but not really in an in-depth manner.  But then I'm a fiend for world building and not spending more time with the descriptions kept up the fast pace.  Really it was very well done, and I'm looking forward to what else she fleshes out in the world building as the series progresses.

While the species in Nerissette may not have acted as I might have expected (mermaids are friendly, etc), they fit the world.  It basically felt like the species were humans with different abilities - which is how they are described by our main characters.  So I think that's why I was so ok with it - I have strict rules for my fae creatures, but usually the books I have issues with go on and on about how they aren't human and don't have emotions like we do...and then they act human.  So this book bypassed all that by showing all the species as having normal, human emotions.  So I'm totally on board with the whole mythology behind the world as well, which is a big sticking point for me.

I also love that her best friends are real.  One of my biggest pet peeves is cardboard cut-out bffs.  Allie and her two best friends, Winston and Mercedes, are a unit.  They do everything together, they have real conversations...basically their relationship is what most of my relationships with my best friends are like.  And I'll give some spoilers here about something I am SO FREAKING HAPPY ABOUT!! *SPOILERS*  The best friend gets the girl!  There wasn't a love triangle either - Allie only ever wants Winston and I totally love that. Even better?  He's a POC! *SPOILERS*  If you are curious, the spoilers won't ruin the book since it's pretty obvious throughout the book, but I figured I'd leave it in case people don't want anything revealed!

One of my very few criticisms is the character development of Jessie and Heidi.  They are shown to be the stereotypical mean, popular kids, and both are very dumb.  And OF COURSE they are both blonde.  As a blonde, I take offense that almost every mean girl ever is blonde.  Why is that exactly?  And why are mean girls dumb?  Honestly if you're going to be that conniving, I'd imagine you'd have to be quite smart actually.  We do get some background on Heidi that fleshes her character out, but she doesn't seem to improve as a maid - although I did like her quite a bit more.  Jessie on the other hand remains a two-dimensional character, with nothing to redeem himself and also no growth.  I would have loved to see some character growth from them, and it would have been nice to break out of popular stereotypes.  While I'm thoroughly pleased that there's a POC in the book  (AND he's a love interest!!)  he seems to be the only one.  Why couldn't Heidi be an Asian or Hispanic mean girl?  Or for the love of God even just a brunette mean girl! 

The book wraps up nicely, and the epilogue makes it clear there's a next book, but if you leave the epilogue off the story fits as a whole.  And that's something I like very much from books in a series!  Finish up your story, THEN move on to the next book!

Overall

This is looking to be a great fantasy series - relateable characters, solid world building, a mythology I can buy into.  Some of the characters weren't as developed as I would have liked and rely a little too much on stereotypes and I'd like to see a little more world building, but I'm definitely sticking around to see these all play out in the second book!

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely.  I think pretty much any fantasy lover will easily get into this series.


Bechdel Test

     "You know what it is," the cat said.
     "The Hall of the Pleiades with its great guardian.  Her white hands raised to the stars, holding the hopes of a thousand untouched worlds in her hands," I whispered.

      "Yes," the cat said.
      I looked back at her, still sitting in the middle of the room, studying me. "So, it's true? All of it? The crazy stories that my mother used to read me that no one else had ever heard of? The dragons and the men who ate fire and called down the sun?"
      "The Firas," she said.  "They're real."
      "And the grasslands with hunting parties who ride great fanged beasts as they hunt giants and trolls? They're real too?"
      "The Veldt." The cat kept her eyes fixed on mine.  "All true."
      "And the nymphs? The fairies? The spirits of the trees? The mermaids? The woodsmen who can become one with the shadows?"
     "All true."
     "And the Lost Rose of Nerissette? Trapped insied a mirror and left to die? What about her? Or the warrior princess who would save the world from darkness?"
     "The Rose may be lost," Esmeralda said. "But we rejoice at the return of our princess." She smiled at me as best a cat could.

Yes, I'm totally counting a female cat as a girl.  It counts!  I'm pretty sure there are many more passages, but I soooortaaa got too into the story and forgot to pay attention so I could bookmark spots.  So this section is kind of an info dump sorry, but it's the best I can do at the moment!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read



You know, I've always been an avid reader.  There are very few books I've been forced to read (or even recommended to read - at least before my blogging days - that I hadn't already read).  So this list is going to be hard for me - especially as the few books I WAS forced to read I generally loathed.  I'm looking at YOU Mummy and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!  So this is going to be mostly books that people gave me over the years, or influenced in my reading one way or another.



1.  The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy



Easily at the top of this list would be Pat Conroy's Lords of Discipline.  In our AP Lit class, there was a week where we were allowed to choose a book of our choice (that would be suitable for the class of course).  My teacher pretty much told me I HAD to read Lords of Discipline because she thought I'd love it.  And she was so right!  It's one of my all time favourite books, and has made me a life long lover of Pat Conroy.  I'm a little bit behind, there's a couple of his books I haven't made it to yet, but I definitely have loved all the books I have read of his.  So thank you Ms. Surrett, you've made me a life long lover of Pat Conroy!


2.  Skip Beat by Nakamura Yoshiki


I had a friend who kept nagging at me to watch Skip Beat after he'd found out some of the other animes I'd watched and he just knew I'd love the series.  And he also knew I'd likely read the manga afterwards (I'd determined never to do such a thing because it was just  too geeky....says the girl who played D&D).  In any case he was right, and Skip Beat led me into the world of fanfiction (I'd halfheartedly followed some Harry Potter fanfic, but Skip Beat made me a regular member) and manga  (I now follow like 50 series haha).  Joon, I'm not sure if I should thank you or rage at you  for introducing me to Skip Beat and the world of manga, but it happened, so I should probably thank you haha.


3.  Abarat by Clive Barker


Now I'm not positive whether I was the one who discovered this book first, but for the sake of this post I'll say my friend found it first (and also I think she probably did).  Either way, I am thankful that I've had a friend who even after all these years I can say something about Abarat and someone understands!  This series is probably the single most creative, original, AMAZING series
I have ever read and it needs unabated adoration sometimes.  Rayshma, thank you for fangirling over this series with me! 


4.  The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher


I'd heard of The Dresden Files here and there over the years and thought vaguely to myself...ehhh...one day I'll pick this up.  Chris solved my unenthusiastic response by actually shoving the first book into my hands and telling me I needed to read the series now and to shut up and just do it.  (Or something along those lines)  Chris has also been very helpful by owning most of the series and letting me take a book across the country with me which is FANTASTIC and AMAZING and you are the best friend ever!  So much thanks is in order for that as I probably never would have made it to this series otherwise (and I promise I will finish the 5th book soon and send it back to you!)


5.  American Gods/Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman


Let me preface this with the disclaimer that Chris may have introduced me to this series, but Becca claimed it first and Chris gets Dresden Files, so there.  I honestly don't even remember which of these I read first (although it makes sense that it would be American Gods).  I devoured the first one so quickly that I read the next one instantly afterwards and so the two stories kind of blend together.  Becca is one of my very few friends  who reads (Chris being pretty much the only other) and our tastes are definitely very similar!  So honestly over the years I can't even tell you how many books I've probably read because of her.  She's also my only friend that reads fanfic (that I know of) so she's definitely sent me to some gems there as well.  She also lets me borrow all her books all the time (and sometimes for a rather...long...time...) which is amazing!


6.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis


My godmother gave me the entire set of this series, and they have made every move I have!  I have reread these series SO many times!  And I love the covers for this set the most (I am STILL mad at my brother, Thomas, for losing my copy of The Horse and His Boy!  I've replaced it, but it doesn't match the set and I WILL DO THAT ONE DAY.  Angry face).  My godmother has given me quite a few books over the years, but as this series is one of my all time favourites, it deserves some mention.


7.  Asterix and Obelix by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo


Oh man this was basically my childhood right here!  Most of my American readers have probably never heard of this series, which is a shame because these comics are hilarious.  And I actually got a fair amount of geographical and historical knowledge picked up here and there from this series.   Luckily my father was not born American, so I have all his boyhood copies of these!  Although a couple of them are in German and possibly French?  Which to my knowledge he doesn't speak.  So that's odd.  I should ask him about that.  He also spawned my love of spyish stories as we made our way through The Bourne Trilogy together (in which I pointed out how he was such a slow reader practically every page.  I was a very annoying child) and much of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series together.


 8.  The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques


Although the first book can technically be attributed to my mother (as can most books I've ever read), a big part of reading this series was squabbling with my brother over who would get to read the next installation first and whose job it was to buy the replacement book when he lost the book.  (I know I lose things all the time, but I don't lose books!  It was all Thomas!).  We bought a lot of the later copies ourselves or gave them to each other as presents (after reading the book first, of course).  I have to admit we may never have gone as far in the series if we hadn't so enthusiastically fought over the books, so this will be be the only time I ever say this:  Thomas, thanks for fighting with me over this series most of my childhood!


9.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (and pretty much all her other novels)


While my grandmother may not have given me my very first Jane Austen novel, Pride & Prejudice, (yet another novel that could probably be attributed to my mother, but it is equally as likely that it was Bubbie) she's definitely the reason I've read all the rest of them.  At some point in the past few years she gave me these tiny, beautifully bound leather copies of all of Jane Austen's novels!  Those have also made every move with me.  I also own all her old and beautifully illustrated anthologies of Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm fairy tales, which make up a BIG part of my reading style and planted the seed for my fairy tale obsession.  Probably every novel that is set somewhere outside of the Americas has been in some way influenced by her (whether she gave it to me or I thought she would like it and maybe...sampled it before I gave it to her haha!). Basically, Bubbie is another person who has influenced my reading in so many ways and with so many books that I honestly can't even remember which ones she's led me to!


10.  The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver



Ok here's the thing.  Of the 1200 books I've marked as read on goodreads, I would say easily 1000 of them were because of my mom.  She is easily the entire reason that I read the way I do.  She supplied 99% of my books up until...well she still pretty much still does when you exclude library visits (and those probably only make up 2% of my entire reading list anyway).  All of my favourite books read probably up until the past couple years that I haven't mentioned on this list are because of her.  She got me to love classics like The Tempest and Count of Montecristo, she got me into sci-fi and fantasy with Madeleine L'Engle and Ursula K. Leguin, shes the reason I read His Dark Materials and the Abhorsen trilogy...I mean seriously, the list is infinite.  

I picked The Poisonwood Bible simply because it's one of my favourite memories (and I like making her look terrible haha!), and because I've read every Barbara Kingsolver novel I could get my hands on afterwards.  When I was 10 I was on a camping trip through Alaska with my family and at some point during the trip I'd read all the books we had with us (and since we are a reading family, it was a rather sizeable amount).  So she handed me The Poisonwood Bible...and I don't know how many of you have read this, but it is definitely not suitable for a 10 year old!  It's not smutty, but there are definitely some mature and rather disturbing themes in this novel.  In any case, I may never have discovered Barbara Kingsolver if not for that, and my 10 year old self LOVED that book, so no harm done!



So basically to sum up the TTT - I have an amazing family (family friends included) who pretty much shaped my reading style.  I know I missed some people, but my entire family has been so integral to what books I've come across it's entirely impossible to sort who's who bookwise!  Do the rest of you have reading families the way I do?  Or do you have more friends who read?  Leave me a link below!  (And remember, I really do need that link to find you!)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern - Todd McCaffrey

 I received a copy of this from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

From the publishers:
When Anne McCaffrey passed in November 2011, it was not only those closest to her who mourned her death; legions of readers also felt the loss deeply. The pioneering science fiction author behind the Dragonriders of Pern® series crafted intricate stories, enthralling worlds, and strong heroines that profoundly impacted the science fiction community and genre.

In Dragonwriter, Anne’s son and Pern writer Todd McCaffrey collects memories and stories about the beloved author, along with insights into her writing and legacy, from those who knew her best. Nebula Award–winner Elizabeth Moon relates the lessons she learned from Pern’s Lessa (and from Lessa’s creator); Hugo Award–winner David Brin recalls Anne’s steadfast belief that the world to come will be better than the one before; legendary SFF artist Michael Whelan shares (and tells stories about) never-before-published Pern sketches from his archives; and more.

Join Anne’s co-writers, fellow science fiction authors, family, and friends in remembering her life, and exploring how her mind and pen shaped not only the Weyrs of Pern, but also the literary landscape as we know it.

Contributors include:

• Angelina Adams
• David Brin
• David Gerrold
• John Goodwin
• Janis Ian
• Alec Johnson
• Georgeanne Kennedy
• Mercedes Lackey
• Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
• Lois McMaster Bujold
• Elizabeth Moon
• Charlotte Moore
• Robert Neilson
• Jody Lynn Nye and Bill Fawcett
• Robin Roberts
• Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
• Wen Spencer
• Michael Whelan
• Richard J. Woods
• Chelsea Quinn Yarbro


Thoughts

Oh wow.  I had no idea what I was getting into when I read this book!  For some reason I thought it was going to be a dry collection of stories about Anne, it would be a quick, informative read and then I'd be on my way!  I was so wrong it's laughable!  The only thing I got right is that it was very informative.

Firstly, it's clear that any stories involving Anne could never be dry.  It's amazing how clear an image of her I got - it didn't matter if it was family, friends, colleagues, or fans - no matter how these people knew Anne (and see?  I can't call her Anne McCaffrey after reading this book), they all painted the picture of the same person.  Warm, loving, snarky, hard-working, extremely supportive - the story written by her daughter referred to her as a "universal mum".  I'm not really sure how to review short stories honestly, so I won't bother to separate them because all of them were absolutely wonderful to read.  I had to limit myself to one chapter at a time though as I do much of my reading on the train and if I wasn't laughing out loud then I was failing horribly at trying not to cry which made me look a bit mad!

I came to this book as a fan of Anne McCaffrey's, but not a particularly knowledgeable one.  I must have read Dragonflight a million times and have read whatever other books she's authored I stumbled upon, but I had never really thought much about the creator behind them.   I have only recently started thinking about the impact of female writers in fantasy and science fiction in an era when they had to really fight to be recognized.  I didn't understand the full impact of Anne McCaffrey's achievements as a writer and as a woman, but while none of the stories harped on all of her achievements, it became quite clear to me that she paved the way for all the female sci-fi writers we have now.  Perhaps still in a minority, but I believe it is a growing minority.

This book also solved a big mystery for me - why do so many sci-fi series become co-written or taken over by other authors?  I'd always thought of it as a cop out sort of thing (probably because most sci-fi I read is YA sci-fi and they don't do that as of yet).  I'd never thought of it as a nurturing sort of thing that could launch another writer's career as well as bring in fresh ideas and characters into an already existing world.  And considering how much I love fanfiction, it's no surprise that I LOVED the idea of being able to create your own characters and work side by side with an author to add your characters to her world!

Most surprising to me was how approachable Anne was.  Every single story mentioned it - but at first I just thought it was something you said about someone.  In fact at first I thought most of the great things about Anne were exaggerated because people often do that after someone has died.  But then EVERY story mentioned these things about her - particularly how approachable she was, and I began to realize Anne really was all those great things!  One of my favourite stories in the book was a hilarious story of a fan, Charlotte Moore, meeting Anne.  I won't get into the particulars, but at one point when she was in high school she'd sent Anne an e-mail.  She got a response - but also a reprimand as Anne knew one of the teachers at the Charlotte's school (I think it was a teacher) and had heard that Charlotte was not applying herself in classes, so in her e-mail she'd said "So STUDY, twithead!"  I thought this was hilarious - and it was sort of amazing to me how she responded with such familiarity and not a stock e-mail sort of thing.  I was flabbergasted when I found out she would just let anyone into her home!  Fans would go to Ireland, call her up, and stop by for a visit!  I'd never heard of anyone doing that for complete strangers!  She apparently was extremely generous financially as well as everything else, and helped many young people get started on their career.  Not just family friends or aspiring authors either!  Reading these things about anyone, let alone an author you admire, was absolutely amazing.

This book was extremely moving.  You don't have to be a fan of Anne McCaffrey's, you don't need to know a single thing about her or her books.  This book is a fantastic collection of stories about a powerful woman's life, as well as enlightening on sci-fi writers in general.  I would highly recommend you read this - I told you, I don't do non-fiction or pseudo non-fiction, but I absolutely loved this book!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday Five (on Saturday AGAIN! Third time in a row...I'm doing exemplary work here)


Just a reminder that you've got until midnight tonight to enter my giveaway!

I've given up on actually making a list of five.  So here's....just a list haha

Wednesday was basically the best day ever.  Here are all the reasons why!

1.  I started by sleeping in!!  So that's always good.
2.  I then proceeded to discover a two packages my roommate had brought in for me - one was a book from bookmooch I'd been waiting for, and the other had three books I'd won in a giveaway hosted by Nafiza so SO MUCH YES!!
3.  Instead of going to wind ensemble, (I didn't have rehearsal) I had one of the most glorious 2 hour practice sessions I've had in FOREVER
4.  Which led to me not being exhausted for orchestra which is ordinarily directly after wind ensemble, which meant I also got to eat lunch!
5.  Right after rehearsal I ran into a friend that I haven't seen in like 4 years!  I didn't even know he was in the area I thought he was living in an entirely different state so that was awesome!
6.  Dunkin Donuts has 99 cent lattes right now, so I got a mocha and the doughnut guy was really nice and gave me two blueberry cake doughnuts instead of the one I'd paid for!  He was totally swamped (it was almost 6, so of course there was a huge line for the lattes) and I was in no hurry so I honestly didn't mind that he'd forgotten to grab me the doughnut (I was a waitress for a year, so I TOTALLY understand, especially since they only had two people working) but it was really nice and it was a PERFECT way to end my day!



Tuesday I had a collaborative performance.  Basically my chamber group teamed up with an artist for our performance.  She taught a quick lesson in expressive artwork and then while we performed, the audience drew what the music made them think/feel.  Not only is this super awesome for obvious reasons, it gets the audience to listen more actively AND it takes some of the judgement off the performers.  I often get really nervous performing, particularly in front of my colleagues, as it's easy to listen for what doesn't sound good instead of focusing on what the music and performance makes you feel.  It's sort of hard to explain, but that's the best I can come up with at the moment.

Some of the pieces inspired by our music:






And last but not least, I had a good performance for my studio on Friday (which was amazing as I'd been freaking out the night before as I learned basically late that night that I couldn't play the piece I'd planned to.  Long story that probably won't make sense so I'll leave that out.  Just note that I had to relearn a piece starting at 10 pm that night after 6 hours of rehearsal pretty much without break.  So bask in the glory that is me).  I also ran into a friend I haven't seen since I started college!! It's been so wonderful seeing people I haven't seen in years!  We went to a performance at my school that I really enjoyed, and then I finished my night with white russians (for those not in the know, that would be a drink not people!), so needless to say I had a good Friday!

How was your week?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Halloween Blog Hop: What book gave you goosebumps?

Don't forget to check out my giveaway!

Book Blogger Hop


Let me preface this story with an explanation.  Guys, I can't handle horror.  I won't watch any scary movies unless forced (to my friends who drove me to your house and then innocently put on Saw KNOWING I COULDN'T LEAVE BECAUSE YOU WERE MY RIDE...that was just cruel!) except the occasional zombie movies...although those are usually brought on under duress as well.  To put this into context, I had to stop watching Death Note because it gave me nightmares.  Guys.  This is an anime.  I can't even handle a CARTOON.   So I don't know why I thought I could handle scary books, but I did.  So when I had to stay up late to catch the camp girls sneaking out to meet the boys, I didn't think it would be a problem to start reading my first horror book...at midnight...alone... (*cue looks of everyone looking at me like I'm an idiot*)



That's right guys, I thought this book would be a piece of cake to read as my first scary book ever.  Alone.  At midnight. 

So needlesss to say when I finished this book at 3 AM everything was NOT OK.  That book is freaking terrifying!   I WAS SO WRONG ABOUT SCARY BOOKS.  They might be even worse than movies.  Scratch that, they're definitely worse because this is a time when having an overactive imagination is very, very bad.  I was barely holding it together when I heard noises out in the hallway.  Noises I most certainly didn't want to investigate.  Cautiously making my way across the room to grab a pair of pants to put on (only after checking under my bed of course.  Only dust bunnies were there, thankfully)...when...A SPIDER CRAWLED OUT OF MY PANTS!!!!!!   After quickly checking the hall for any errant students, I returned to my room.  Only to discover that I now had no idea where that spider had gone.  If there is anything worse than knowing there's a spider near you...it's knowing there's a spider is near but not knowing WHERE near you.   Now some of you might not know much about spiders and me.   Let's just say I don't usually handle them well, and my state of mind after reading Misery was not helping.  But I think anyone who was already in a Misery induced state of heightened terror could be excused by acting like this:


Which is more or less how I spent the rest of the night, until I fell asleep.  With the lights on.  And that my friends, is the story of how I read my first (and most likely last) scary book.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Top Ten Best Series Enders

Hosted by:  The Broke and Bookish


1.  The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials) - Philip Pullman


There is NO WAY this is not my favourite ending novel to a trilogy ever.  But oh the feels...



2.  Mockingjay (The Hunger Games) - Suzanne Collins


 I feel like this is a bit of a controversial choice because most people I know hated the ending.  I thought the ending of the book was perfect.  I won't say why because I know I have some readers who haven't finished the trilogy (hurry up damn it!), but I'm even talking that last chapter.  That's exactly who Katniss is as a character, and...I can't say why, but for reasons, I think the ending is so realistic and it's basically just perfect in my eyes.



3. Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness) - Tamora Pierce


This book has everything in it, and as I am an unabashed Tamora Pierce fangirl and this was my first quartet of hers I read, I really shouldn't have to explain why this is on the list.



4.  The End  (A Series of Unfortunate Events) - Lemony Snicket


 While I may have become distanced from the book for most of the middle of the series (it becomes quite repetitive)...the last book of this series is surprisingly mature for the series.  Again, I don't want to say anything with spoilers, but this book felt much more serious than the others.  I know many people were really upset by the ending, but *spoilers* I like that not every question is answered and the fate of the Baudelaire's is up to the reader to interpret.*spoilers*





I haven't mentioned this on the blog yet I don't think, but this series was another set that I grew up reading.  I don't even remember the first time I read the books, but every time I go to them it always feels fresh.  And the tone of the books in the first couple through the end are so different!  The series definitely ended up more serious than I expected from the first book.  It's a bit like Harry Potter in that sense - comparing the first book to the last as far as tone goes.





This trilogy is entirely overlooked which is a shame because I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  Wandering Meander is the first person I've met ever  in my entire life who has ever read this trilogy.  It's just...the world building, the lore, the NOT instalove, the love despite not having a heart racingly attractive love interest..it's just so amazing!  And the ending to the trilogy feels like the undertones are a bit darker.  In any case, if you take anything from this list other than the fact that judging by most of the endings to these series I'm sadistic, read this trilogy because I would love for it to get some love!


I'm honestly having a really hard time coming up with any others.  It's not because I don't think there are any more good ones, it's just that I don't have a great memory and some of these books I read years ago.  For example, I vaguely remember Wyvernhail being on of my favourite Atwater reads. I really wanted to have Isabel Allende's City of the Beast trilogy because I've never mentioned it on this blog but I remember it being AMAZING...but I have a vague memory that the first book was my favourite and I was undecided on the last one.  But again, I haven't read either set of books in years.  And there are plenty of other books I could name, but that's basically the whole point of this list that I am leaving incomplete, so there you are haha.

What books have I forgotten are fantastic trilogy enders?  Leave me a link below (and as always I mean that literally), and don't forget to check out my giveaway!