15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11
The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!
Today’s Challenge is: Show off 5 of your best blog posts!
From reading some of the other blogs that are participating in this challenge it seems like this is one of the harder ones, and I can understand why. It involves tooting our own horn, something a few of us either aren’t especially good at or don’t really like doing. Share an awesome new book? Heck ya! Talk about a cool new author about to debut? Love to! However, get us to say how awesome we are and some of us clam up so tight you need the jaws of life to pry us open. In my case I just wasn’t sure which posts I thought were my “best” and sifting through my reviews (really the only ones worthy of consideration, I’m not going to pick a meme post after all) was the only way I could think of doing it. So, these may not be the best, but I liked how they turned out for one reason or another.
- Day 70: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: Let the horn tooting begin! (Not a phrase you hear every day…) When I did this review I was still coming off that natural high you get after reading a book you know has become one of your all time favorites. Giving it less than five smiling Frodos wasn’t even an option in my head. So maybe it was the book’s awesomeness seeping into my review, but I felt like this was one of my better ones, especially out of the positive ones (which for whatever reason I have more trouble with than the negative). I’m happy with how my writing was at the time, the flow of the review and if someone were to read it I would imagine this could push them right over the fence they were on and make them read the book. I give Etiquette & Espionage, and Gail Carriger of course, full credit for the quality of the review, without her amazing piece I couldn’t have so many great things to say. ^.^
- Interview with Sarah-Jane Lehoux: What’s this? A non-review post? Of course! You thought this would be all about me? I loved doing the interview with Sarah-Jane. Coming up with those questions and trying to be original wasn’t easy for me since this was my first attempt at an interview on the blog and I didn’t have any stock questions to fire off. Somehow they seemed to be a lot of fun for her to answer and the answers she gave? Interesting, informative, hilarious and a bit snarky, which pretty much sums Sarah-Jane up too. Seriously though, this was just a blast and I’m so glad we set this up (especially because I almost backed out of it due to nerves) and would happily do it again.
- Day 59: The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton: While I don’t enjoy torching a book because I know how much work goes into it, sometimes I have to. This was one of those times. The reason why this makes my “best” blog posts is because, while it wasn’t necessarily my most fun to write, I felt the review I did was actually pretty good. Humor was incorporated seamlessly, the analysis was strong and I didn’t trip over my own words (which I have a tendency to do at times). Also, the review gives a potential reader of my blog a good idea of elements in books I really don’t like and if they don’t mind them or even, in fact, like them then they know our feelings toward books probably won’t mesh well. Conversely, if you hate what I hate, you likely will love the elements I love in books too. The review just worked despite having to be harsh at times. I tried to be constructive, attempted to bring up what few positive elements I could drag out of this piece, but overall it was mostly just a Hulk smash of negativity.
- Day 46: END: An Apocalyptic Anthology: This wasn’t my best review in terms of writing quality, it was short and not overly detailed because of the novella length stories and the breakdowns were simple, though not bad. So why does this make the cut? Impact. If you’ve followed my blog (especially long enough to see this many posts which I LOVE you for) you’d know I work with Angela Kulig on a semi-regular basis. Essentially whenever she has something new come out you’ll see a review here. Which makes it even crazier when she told me that this post was a major factor in her continuing to write. At all. I was floored because, especially at this point in the blogging experience, I didn’t think I had much impact at all. Small time blog and fine with it my reach wasn’t great so at most I’d impact a reader here or there and be fine with it. For this to happen…I’m still stunned.
- Dewey’s 24hr Read-A-Thon: Why is a readathon post one of my “best” ones? I just had so much FUN! Dewey’s 24hr readathon was the first I ever took part in and kindled my love for them which at this point is borderline obsessive. I loved every aspect of the 24hr experience. Participating in sooo many challenges, reading three books and a novella all of which I enjoyed and tweeting with all of the other participants, again something completely new to me at the time, is an experience I’ll never forget. It is one of the longest posts I’ve ever done and yet reading through it again was an amazing treat for me. *hugs Dewey’s*
So there you have it, my five “best” posts! Honorable mention goes to “Review: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson” because it was my first real review and my the first giveaway win I ever had on the blog. I feel that reading those five posts is a pretty good summary of what kind of blogger I am. Really the only thing missing is a Frodo’s Hobbit-Sized Review, but you can’t include everything. There is the high points, the very low, the impactful and the joyous. I hope that my content in the future can leave me even a fraction as happy as I am after looking back over these posts. Thank you so much for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on any of the posts or your own top five! ^.^
Summary From Goodreads:
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
There are many words that can be used to describe Etiquette & Espionage. Fabulous. Odd. Hilarious. I don’t know that any combination will adequately describe the book, but I’ll give it a go since reviews are apparently my thing now.
The main reason Etiquette & Espionage is so hard to accurately describe is because it encompasses so many genres. There is the fantastic elements such as werewolves and vampires, both of which are readily accepted by a large portion of society, go figure. Then there are the steampunk elements which go from mechanimals (exactly what they sound like) to floating schools seemingly made out of three dirigibles melded together, to descriptions of machines themselves. There is the urban setting, it is a school after all, even a floating one counts. Oh and the matter of it being in the 1800’s and thus having grand balls, horse-drawn carriages and of course the way of speaking that seems to fit the time. Add that all together and you can see why it is a bit hard to summarize all that Etiquette & Espionage holds in simple terms.
What’s so amazing, or at least in part, about the book is that it combines all of the aforementioned genres seamlessly. The vampires and werewolves? They fit right in with the school setting. The descriptions of different mechanical workings? Doesn’t clash with lessons on a proper curtsy or what size of handkerchief is possible to hide in a given…well, bosom. Even the manner of speech manages to fit in seamlessly with all of the fantastical goings on.
My personal favorite incorporation was the humor. Carriger not only uses standard forms of humor, but with the etiquette involved some specific situations that most books would be unable to take advantage of are used masterfully. Also names, just hilarious and no doubt for the author’s benefit as much as it was for the reader. My favorites were Lord Dingleproops, Mrs. Barnaclegoose and Bumbersnoot. I’m sorry but if you didn’t at least emit a giggle reading those you need to work on your sense of humor!
The characters were excellent too. The main character, Sophronia, is brilliant, funny, and though the school does make her more feminine as it is designed to do, she retains much of her tomboyish qualities as well as her adventurous & reckless tendencies which is always nice to see with a female MC every now and then. She’s pretty but it doesn’t make her act superior, loyal to those she cares about (unless faced with an incoming werewolf) and I can’t wait to see how her character develops. The supporting cast of friends, teachers and even enemies are all done very well. I honestly can’t think of a character I thought was poorly done which is pretty amazing.
Etiquette & Espionage is the first book in a four part series, and I’m definitely looking forward to book two, Curtsies & Conspiracies, which is expected to be released in November of this year. There wasn’t a cliffhanger ending (thank you Gail!) but that hasn’t made my longing any less. There is plenty more “education” left to be had, rules to be broken and hilarity to ensue. I’d recommend this book to anyone, especially since there seems to be a bit about it to appease a fan of any genre type. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 71!