Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Totally Random Tuesday

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

Summary From GoodreadsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

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There are books that you fall in love with because of the world, the author’s creativity, or the relationships that are forged both inside of the story and between you and the characters within. Then there are books that you connect with because they feel like yours, stories that seem like the author’s intended audience was you and you alone. The latter was my experience with Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, and it made me both love the book, and reflect a lot on my life. With that said, I clearly have a bias here, but if you don’t mind then read on.

First, I should expand on my connection with the story of Vanishing Girls. This is the first blog post since October 2014, and there is good reason for that. On January 11th of this year I attempted suicide, and my mode of choice was to crash my vehicle into a tree at high speed. I hadn’t felt like blogging again until reading this book, and while Nick and Dara weren’t involved in the car accident because of a suicide attempt, the results were similar.

Scars, both emotional and physical. Major life changes in behavior, friendships, and overall lifestyle. Overwhelming guilt.

Now that you have an idea of why I connected with the story and characters so much (if you want more on my life just hit me up via Twitter and such) let’s get into the review.

Lauren Oliver’s writing is as wonderful as ever. I became a fan of hers after reading Liesl & Po, an adorable MG read, and Vanishing Girls is even better. The story flows extremely well, despite the confusion of the characters within, and transitioning between the POV of the sisters is seamless. Everything concerning the sisters, the accident, their warped family and relationships was fascinating, with just enough edge to keep it from becoming too sappy. However, I will admit that while I understand why the hunt for Madeline Snow was included (spoilers!) it did feel forced, and her character never really adds much to the book.

River_spoilers

The characters are what makes or breaks this book in my opinion. You have to feel for Dara and her physical injuries, struggles to return to her usual self, and her black sheep role in her discombobulated family. There needs to be sympathy for Nick’s guilt and emotional struggles over the crash, her frayed relationship with Dara when they were so close before, and her drive to find out the truth to fill the gaps in her memory and the resulting world around her.

Vanishing Girls utilizes the sisters so well, equally showing off the issues and negativity between them after the accident (the usual way sisters are represented in YA), and the positively cute development of their close friendship prior to it (something rare in YA). There should be more books that have sisters who actually like each other in YA, that are also main characters, at least in my opinion. It’s a relationship that doesn’t seem to be tapped enough.

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There is also the trio of friends/relationships dynamic with Nick, Dara, and their best friend Parker. All three were really good friends growing up until Dara and Parker became a bit more. That played a major role in Nick and Parker’s relationship, as well as Dara and Nick’s due to Nick feeling like a third wheel. It’s awkward, and the book doesn’t try to hide that, instead exploring each pairing (as well as the atmosphere when all three are together) with plenty of love and care.

In addition, Vanishing Girls explores all kinds of issues, something I really applaud Oliver for, and a big reason why I think the book is worth the read for any teen or young adult. Divorce, step parents and siblings, PTSD, depression, guilt, DID, drinking, drugs, and a plethora of other issues are explored and in just the right amount of detail. Best of all, Oliver manages to do all of that without saying anything that might trigger problems for those suffering from or dealing with those same issues. There is an art in doing that, and I really appreciated that she pulled it off.

Finally, the setting does a lot of the work in the fun department, making lighter situations to balance the deeper parts of the book. Nick is forced into a job at the local amusement park FanLand. It’s old, the employees are bizarre as one would expect, and best of all Parker is there for all the nostalgic feels. FanLand is a diversion from all the shitty things happening to Nick, and it’s one that she and the reader need every so often, plus metaphors, so many metaphors. I loved how Oliver brought it to life.

a metaphor

Overall Vanishing Girls was an excellent read, even if it was pretty dark at times, and while my bias is real, I don’t think it is clouding my judgement. I loved this book so much that it made me blog again. I HAD to share my thoughts on it, and a book that powerful is worth reading. Yes, I’m late to the party (the book came out in March), but hopefully I’m only fashionably so. It’s been fun. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Loop by Karen Akins: Frodo’s Review

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Summary From GoodreadsLoop

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

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I received an eBook copy of Loop from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a fascination for everything involving time travel, whether it is in the form of a book such as with the MG/YA Pendragon series, in a tv show like Forever or Doctor Who, or a movie like Back to the Future. It doesn’t seem to matter what medium it is in, if it involves time travel even at a small level I’m going to at least be interested and willing to give it a try; that’s where Loop by Karen Akins comes in. I heard about Loop from the publisher who was looking for people to do reviews for its blog tour, and while I did not participate in that, I did request it because I was curious to see if this would be a good example of time travel, and a way of quenching my thirst for it.

Time Travel Back to the Future

The result? A bit of a mixed bag. I found the beginning of the book to be a struggle to get through, adjusting to Akins using fake curse words in place of regular ones (something I know bugs some people and in this case was a mild irritant to myself), and getting accustomed to the jargon used to describe the process of time travel itself, and everything that goes on with it.

Fake Swear Words Battlestar Gallactica

Unfortunately, even when I had immersed myself in the world, it never felt like something I could wrap my brain around, especially concerning the bits and pieces of explanations we get for how the world functions in the 23rd century. This isn’t due to lack of experience with various reasoning given in other examples of future worlds, but that Akins doesn’t do a very good job at describing it in a clear way.

Part of the issue here, and something that is the case across the board with this book (technical babble aside), is that it seems like the reader is intentionally led in circles in order to give the story a kind of mystery. In reality, all that occurred was that I was increasingly frustrated at the contradictions that started to arise, the dense main character that took forever to realize what was right in front of her face (where the reader could put the pieces together chapters before), and being left to wonder if (from a technical aspect) this world even made sense at all.

Going Around in Circles

Every time a technical bit was brought up it was almost immediately discarded and a vague response given instead. My head hurts just trying to put those last few paragraphs together to try and explain what wasn’t explained in the book, but suffice it to say that there are problems in the world building in Loop.

Then there are the characters. Bree (the MC) is dense as I mentioned before, but is also inconsistent. At times she seems lost and unsure, as well as just plain slow, and often can’t figure out what is happening around her, even when it’s pretty clear. Other times Bree plays a Sherlock-esque figure, picking up clues and hatching schemes (even if they aren’t always brilliant ones), all the while complaining about the same issues repeatedly. She had a pretty rough past, but despite that I was never able to pity her after the first couple of chapters because she is so abrasive and whiny.

Finn, the love interest, grasps things often before Bree does despite being from the 21st century, but otherwise is just an overprotective lug, and one that happens to be quite attractive seemingly just for gushing at random intervals from Bree. The supporting cast outside of them are even more cliche, from the standard BFF Mimi who is only there to be overly devoted to Bree, to one of the “villains” that is confused and used, and that eventually goes a tad nuts but still garners pity for whatever reason. Just…no.

nope

The part of Loop that pulls you in, however, is the past-to-future experiences, at least if you love time travel like I do. Unfortunately, while some of those aspects are pulled off well, such as with various cultural references in the 21st and 23rd centuries, much of the future elements are not well done at all. The world Bree lives in is barely discussed, the book focuses way too much on a couple modes of transportation instead of the time travel part, and the cliched joke of instant meals was used a couple times and wasn’t really funny. There is always a lot to work with in time travel books because you have such a wide range of times and locations to choose from, but that wasn’t showcased in Loop at all. The world in the 23rd century was simply bland.

Bland World

The writing and conversations that took place were decent, but it wasn’t enough to grab me, especially with the previously mentioned issues involved. A few solid jokes were made, and the sheer awkwardness of various situations were enjoyable, but there wasn’t enough chemistry between the main characters to enjoy those scenes fully. Having the inevitable future of the timeline Bree and Finn were on, something that was told almost immediately in the story, made it so there were hardly any surprises or suspense.

Overall, while the idea of time travel was present, and some of the issues with it (even if many are obvious) were addressed, I couldn’t enjoy Loop like I had hoped to. It isn’t a bad book, it just doesn’t excel in any category. Time travel wasn’t exciting in Loop, it was just a way of circumventing plot issues, something it didn’t do all that well anyway. The ending of the book only serves to try and confuse the reader even more, and too many issues remain unresolved, even for a book in a series. Thanks as always for reading.

Two Smiling Frodos w Background


Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday I get to gush about my favorite authors since those are the ones I own the most books from. I’ll let you know why I love them and give a mix of physical and ebook collections. Let’s get into it!

The Lightning Thief 1. Leigh Wilder – 31 – Wilder is a writer of naughty tales, a constant presence on my Frodo’s Frisky Friday feature, and one of my favorite authors. The collection I have from her is mostly in eBook form, since they are novella length and she doesn’t really do physical copies yet. I’ve read almost all of them, including ones from her alter egos, and the level of writing is always impressive.

 2. Zoe E. Whitten – 34 – Whitten writes books with mature content, though not necessarily the naughty variety, and like Wilder has an exceptionally strong level of prose. My collection for her is completely made up of eBooks, many of which I have yet to get to, but she’s awesome and I know they’ll be great when I do get around to them. I recommend checking out her more mainstream title, Nobody Special, which I wrote about here.

 3. Rick Riordan – 12 – You all know of Rick Riordan even if you haven’t read his books. I’ve only read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series so far, but I own the Kane Chronicles and the four released Heroes of Olympus books too. Oh, and all are physical copies. ^.^

 4. Jeremy C. Shipp – 15 – Another frequent author for this blog, Shipp is a horror/bizarro author that I absolutely love. His work is insightful, creepy, hilarious, and thought provoking. I own his Attic Clowns volumes in physical and eBook form (only counted each volume once though), and the rest is split between the two versions. I can’t recommend his work enough!

 5 and 6. – D.J. MacHale (10) and Eoin Colfer (8) – These two authors I put together because all of their books that I own are from one series each. I own both series in physical form, MacHale’s being the Pendragon series and Colfer being Artemis Fowl. I read both of the series when I was a kid and still love them to this day. They are great MG reads if you haven’t checked them out already!

An Abundance of Katherines 7. Kelly Apple – 10 – Another “naughty” writer, Kelly Apple is not only one of my favorite authors, but also a fantastic person, and someone I love talking to on Twitter. Nine of the ten books are from her Monstrous Tales series, which has been a bunch of fun to read, and all of them are eBooks. Take a look at her work if you would like some sexy monsters in your life!

 8. Larry Kollar – 8 – A MG and YA author, Kollar is a bit of a mixed bag. He’s written dystopian and fantasy for YA audiences, and is now four books into a MG fantasy series, but no matter what audience he’s writing for it has been enjoyable for me to read. I own all of his work in eBook format, and if you follow the blog you’ve seen me review most of them already. Give him a look!

 9. Sean Beaudoin – 5 – Beaudoin is an oddball, writing stories that make you question whether it was the content within that was crazy, or if it is really your own mind that developed the delusions. His books are hilarious, they always blow my mind, and are excellent for readers of YA or Adult. I’ll definitely be buying all of his other books as they come out!

 10. John Green – 5 – While many of the authors in this list are ones you probably haven’t heard of (unless you read this blog often) that doesn’t mean I don’t love mainstream authors too. I own every John Green book with the exception of Let It Snow, and that’s really just because I’m not big into holiday stories. The ones I do own and have read are all amazing, as you all probably know, though An Abundance of Katherines is actually my favorite, and is the one that speaks to me the most.

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There are other authors that I could have chosen, possibly even a few that might have more than 5, but those were the ones that immediately came to mind, and are my favorites. Do you have any of these authors in your list? What is your biggest number of owned books by an author? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Blogging Confessions

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about letting you lovely people in on some of what goes on behind the scenes. I’ll tell you a couple things you might not know about me and what I struggle with in terms of blogging. Let’s get into it!

1. This blog was not my first – Some of you know this already, but I had a sports blog before I decided to create the bookish one. While I have always loved reading, sports are another passion of mine and I thought I’d try my hand at writing about it. That didn’t last long and the blog no longer exists, however, there is a new one that I post on occasionally, so now you know.

2. I’ve wanted to be a booktuber, but I’m not confident on camera – That pretty much sums it up, but basically I love the format of booktubing and vlogging, but can’t stand how I look when I’ve recorded. There is so much you can express with that medium that blogs simply can’t, and I love watching booktuber content, alas I doubt I’ll try it myself.

3. I try not to care about stats, but do – This is a common one among bloggers I’m sure, but while I try to just post for the love of books, when I was posting daily and seeing little from it that was discouraging. Right now I’m back to posting only when I want to, so hopefully I can be less fixated. What are your thoughts on stats?

4. The first time I did the book/day challenge, toward the end I didn’t finish some of the books, but reviewed them anyway. That’s the whole thing, but I did feel guilty about it, and that’s why the second time around I structured things differently. However, I did go back later in the year and finished all of the ones I had done that with, so no more guilty conscience. 🙂

5. I mean to comment more, but am just lazy – I could argue that I am too busy, but there have certainly been times when that wasn’t the case and I still didn’t. Hopefully I can visit blogs more regularly and comment on posts because I know how much that means, at least when I get them. If not, I’ll at least respond via Twitter, and that’s something right? ^.^

6. I totally forgot about Netgalley – I try not to request much at all, but this year I did get a few and…spaced it. I’ve since read and reviewed those books, many of which I had posted reviews of on here on time, but I still feel bad. At least my ratio is alright now? >.>

7. I love memes, but I feel guilty for posting them – This isn’t always true, but often when I post memes, even this one, I feel like I’m “phoning it in” or the blogging equivalent. Maybe I feel like that because reviews take so much time (especially when you factor in reading time) and so it feels like I’m not doing enough? Idk. I’m weird. XD

8. Anytime I turn down authors/bloggers I feel guilty – I’m starting to notice a trend… People don’t contact me about that sort of thing to often, especially since the latest hiatus, but when it does occur I do feel really bad. I usually have a good reason (time, not posting that type of content, don’t read that kind of book) but that doesn’t make it easier. Blah. >.<

9. My Kindle library is insanity – Another common one, but goodness gracious. I’m often hesitant to even open the app on my computer unless I have a specific book I want to read because my face when I see the number is always. O_O and then -_-‘ I should get my Killing My Kindle feature going again…

10. I’m back! Kinda – So this one is more of a semi-announcement/statement of the semi-obvious, but I have returned to book blogging, but only as much as I feel like. I won’t post every day, but I will likely post multiple times a week. I don’t know, and it is more fun that way. However, I have made it into the University of Minnesota and Fall semester does start in September, so idk what will happen then. I’ll keep you posted. ^.^

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There are so many other confessions I could make, but this should do for now. What confessions do you have in common? Do you have others that you’d like to share? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


What Kind of Reader Are You?

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

I recently read (most of) Cruel Beauty and despite disliking a lot of aspects of the book made it through around 250 pages or so before skimming the rest through to the end. This got me thinking about why I pushed through as far as I did despite tweeting out that I’d stop around 100-150 pages if it didn’t improve since I had almost DNF’d it twice. Why do I make it through certain books even if I’m not enjoying myself that much and what crosses the line to become that rare DNF? Finally, what does this say about me and the facets of a book I enjoy most, in short: what kind of reader am I?

So the first question, why did I push through as much of Cruel Beauty? Early in the book the MC was already bugging me. Her inner monologues/quarrels with herself were incredibly irritating and it was just a slow beginning in general. She’s showed signs of just being a jerk at times and yet acted high and mighty at others, it was infuriating.

Its Like Youre Begging Me To Hate You

As I pushed through the book maintained a relatively slow pace, but the world showed itself and I did like a lot of the aspects of it. There was magic, mythology, religion, mystery, and complexity not often seen in YA. The side characters (for the most part) were engaging and funny, each in different ways, but I was pursuing for those reasons. However, eventually the MC wore me down, instalove and a pseudo-love triangle emerged, and the book lost any luster it had previously gained. What had kept me going had failed in the end, and it just wasn’t enough to do more than skim the ending.

Hate This Crap

The next question is why do I make it through some books but others I give up and DNF? This one is pretty simple at first glance, I know how much work goes into making these books and I want to give the authors every opportunity, plus I hate shining a bad light on books other people may enjoy and love.

Digging deeper it is due to what about books gets me reading, keeps me there, and appeals to me the most. Which leads me to the third question, what kind of reader am I? I’m a character driven reader, I live for them, often in the best book live within them, and love seeing their reactions to whatever is going on around their world. I enjoy the other main elements (world building, plot, writing style, romance, etc.) and the best books incorporate most, if not all, of these things. There are never enough amazing characters for me to love.

I Love Them All

When I am struggling with a book what will kill it for me the easiest is that the MC (or at least one of them if there are multiple) drives me crazy. Whether it is flip flopping, showing signs of instalove, being annoying/overly whiny, or any other irritating trait, the main character (and to a lesser extent side ones) can make me hate a book enough to never go back to it or even read it all the way.

Seriously

A world that is unbelievable (in a bad way), a plot that is convoluted, instalove and love triangles, or flat out poor writing/unappealing writing style, can all be the cause of such a letdown. There needs to be some redeeming qualities for me to stay with the book for long and not quit after 100 pages or less. Regardless of genre it would appear that I am a character driven reader, but what about you?

What kind of reader are you? What one of the major elements of books do you enjoy most, which one has the biggest consistent influence? What makes it difficult to keep reading, what can you not stand in a book? Why have you DNF’d ones you have and what has kept you from doing so to others? Have you ever regretted DNF’ing a book or not doing so when you could/should have?

I Tried

Do characters inspire you? Do you fall in love with certain plots and never want to leave the story? Do you fall so in love with worlds that you wish you could live there? Do romances take you away and make everything unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows? Does beautiful writing move you to tears (happy or sad)? What element speaks to you most? Let me know! I hope you enjoyed this random post and thanks as always for reading!


Top Ten Books That Will Give You All The Feels

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is about books that make you cry. The problem for me is I don’t really cry when I read a book, no matter the genre or subject matter, it just doesn’t happen. So, instead I am going to talk about books that give you all kinds of feels. Here we go! ^.^

Unhinged by A.G. Howard 1. I Ship The Heck Out of This Romance! – Unhinged by A.G. Howard – You know that feeling you get when you are reading a book and EVERYTHING about the pairing does it for you? Like you can’t imagine them being with anyone else? I’m fully team Morpheus, and I felt all of those feels when it came to their pairing, regardless of what actually will come to them.

not a drop to drink 2. I’m Going to Throw This Book if They Do That! – Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis – A common example of this is when animals are on the covers of books in dystopian books where I see bloggers saying how upset they will be if it dies. Without spoiling too much, in Not a Drop to Drink there is a little girl that joins the story about a third to halfway through and she has a rough go of it at times. I felt physically ill at the thought of McGinnis killing her off, I won’t say if she did or not, but a very strong feeling indeed.

 3 & 4. Why Did They End the Book Like That?! – Beta by Rachel Cohn – Last year I read this book, if you want the review it is here, and loved it for 99% of the way, and then the ending killed me. I hated it and it made the character’s decisions seem pointless because they went against everything they stood for. I raged on Twitter a little bit and even though I gave the book 4/5 it fell from “I’ll mention this all year as a favorite read” to “good but can’t think about it without being disappointed” so there’s that. (Honorable Mention – This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales – review soon to explain)

 5 & 6. Stop Torturing These Beautiful Characters! – Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons – I just reviewed this one yesterday, so the wounds are still fresh, but suffice it to say that I really felt all the suffering Ember and Chase went through. The imagery and depictions of the situations were done extremely well and the visuals were crazy powerful in my head. Can’t they be happy for more than five minutes? Please?! (Honorable Mention – Shades of War by Sarah-Jane Lehoux – review here)

Ready Player One 7. I Connect With This Book Completely – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I loved this book because of how much it brought out my geeky side. There were gaming references of all varieties, old pop culture references and music, and throughout all of it I felt like the book was designed purely for my personal enjoyment. All of the happy feels for this one!

 8. I Am An Empty Shell – Paper Towns by John Green – You might be wondering how a book that stripped me of all my emotions, leaving behind an empty husk of a person, could be anything but The Fault in Our Stars. TFiOS is fantastic and I can see why some people would get very emotional because of it, but Paper Towns resonated more with me. I’ve got family members who have had cancer, but I’ve BEEN Q before, led down a crazy adventure that somehow ends up teaching you about yourself, all started by an amazing girl. By the end of this book I was completely drained, but in the best way.

In The Dark 9. Let’s Get Physical! – In the Dark by Leigh Wilder – Most of her books would qualify here, but this is reserved for any “naughty” books that get you in the mood. In the Dark is the first one of hers that came to mind with plenty of action and well written sexy times. Hey, these are definitely a powerful type of feels too!

 10. Everything in This Book Is Awesome, Can I Live There?! – Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger – This reaction is saved for books where the world is amazing, the characters are awesome, the writing is beautiful, and the events that occur within are so fantastic that you can’t help but talk about it with EVERYONE. While some might suggest things like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings for this, I could not choose them because so many terrible/sad events took place within, but for the entire time while reading C&C I was enthralled and having a blast. Definitely reserved for books giving emotional highs!

So those are the top ten books that gave me all the feels, even though they’re wildly different in which ones they illicit! What is your top ten list for this week? Did you manage to compile a list of cry-worthy books or did you have to tweak the theme like I did? Was there any common trait or pattern with the books you chose that explains your strong reactions to them? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


The Unbound by Victoria Schwab: Frodo’s Review

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The Unbound

Summary From GoodreadsThe Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Normally I wouldn’t do b2b mini-reviews, but since yesterday’s wasn’t really all that short I’m making an exception, because with The Unbound my emotions can be summed up pretty quickly.

I loved it, so much so that I fought through an allergy & benadryl fog in order to read it today. I’ve had this book on pre-order since it was first available on Amazon, and NOTHING was going to stop me from devouring it. The Unbound is fantastic, filled with characters that I love, from Mackenzie the broken but resilient MC, to Wesley the always caring and sweet love interest, and even to Owen who haunts Mackenzie’s dreams and even sometimes her waking moments. They are all excellent, fleshed out, and the chemistry between Mackenzie and Wesley is especially beautiful to witness.

What amazes me about Schwab’s writing ability the most is how she can make the “real world” seem just as incredibly vivid as the Archive. Each is stunning, from the descriptions of the courtyard and buildings of the private school, to the labyrinth-like halls of the Archive. It’s impossible not to get lost in such a detailed, and truly beautiful world, one that blends realistic setting and the fantastic seamlessly.

What makes The Unbound a sequel that not only doesn’t succumb to second-book syndrome, but excel and even surpass The Archived, is the way that Mackenzie’s mind is breaking and altering her reality so that each twist and turn the book has is as shocking for the reader as the characters within. She has such a hard time determining what is in her dreams, what is in the Archive, and even what is real in her regular everyday life. The constant struggle to hold onto her sanity in the ever-changing world around her is something that many of us can relate to, and Schwab does it more justice than I thought was possible.

There is romance here, beautiful and touching, and heart wrenching at times too. Battles with the law, crime scenes, escapes, psychosis, and questioning of oneself, The Unbound has all of these things and so much more. If you haven’t read The Archived, I urge you to do so, because not only is that book great in its own right, but then you can read what I would argue is one of the best sequels out there. Thank you as always for reading.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #32/365

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about things on my reading wishlist! This can be anything that I want authors to write about; characters, issues, time periods, particular plots, and more. So here are a few on my list! ^.^

1. The Mongols – Really anything involving the mongols, even potentially non fiction if it is compelling, but fiction with them involved would be AMAZING. They are, as John Green often says, “the exception” and I think that there is a lot to work with there.

2. Horror – I don’t mean the genre, because I know people are still writing it, but I want to be freaked out. Mess with my mind, make me think one thing and lead me down a winding false trail, then slap me in the face with reality. Scare me. I’m begging.

3. An Abundance of Katherines 2 – I’m not being literal, or asking John Green for a sequel, but more stuff like this book would be perfect. Flawed geniuses, a story of finding yourself, nerdiness and mathematics combined to produce witty dialogue. Maybe it is out there already, but I want MOAR. o_o

4. Samurai – Yes, there are plenty of books with them in it, but I’m looking for a story showing the process of becoming one. Something detailing the trials and the emotions someone might feel if they were forced to go down that road, even if they come to disagree with what they learn about the emperor and empire they were serving.

5. More College Books – Not textbooks mind you, I have plenty of those. >.< I want college settings with classes and meal plans and real, regular college life. I don’t need more “New Adult” sex/drama/love triangle focused repetition.

6. Flawed Love Interests – I don’t care if they are male, female, alien, shapeshifter, or otherwise, just please stop creating these seemingly perfect beings that the MC can’t help but fall for. Make them…people, that’s all I ask.

7. Dystopian – The genre seems to be doing pretty well for itself, but rugged, tough, and dangerous worlds seem to be giving way to Divergent-esque “less than perfect” ones that, while they can be great stories, feel too shiny and polished for what I thought dystopian would be. Maybe I don’t know the genre as well as I should, but I’m looking for something…harsher. Think Ann Aguirre’s Razorland trilogy.

8. Mythology – Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, anything really. I luckily have a bunch of Rick Riordan’s books to help in this area that I will be reading this year, but there can always be more of this sort of thing I feel. Antigoddess by Kendare Blake is the best example for how to do it right.

9. No Cliffhangers – Sure, books in series need to leave questions unanswered in order to have the reader wanting to keep going with the story, or at least it doesn’t hurt. However, making the book feel incomplete by itself because major plot elements are left hanging or twists are thrown in at the VERY end doesn’t make for a good transition, it’s just frustrating.

10. Tsars of Russia – I find this time period to be fascinating, that of the Tsars (or czars), the changing of dynasties, capital locations, plenty of wars and civil unrest. There seems to be so much to work with here but I rarely (if ever) hear about books, especially in fiction, about this era. I’d love some!

So those are the top ten things on my reading wishlist! What is your top ten list for this week? Are your wishes for new worlds, characters, or plots? Are they perhaps about a particular genre or set of issues you want more content on? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m Excited For

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about the 2014 debuts I’m psyched about! I’m not as familiar with the 2014 debut authors as I was with 2013 ones, but here’s some of the ones I do know about that have me hopeful. ^.^

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman 1. The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold – While this book always makes me think of Through the Looking Glass I really am excited about this one, especially seeing how Arnold portrays the 19th century from a modern-day teenage perspective. Yes please!

 2. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman – Adolf Hitler? 1930s Munich? This is the kind of book that I never manage to find but would always enjoy reading. If this is executed well Blankman will have a hit on her hands. Squee!

3. The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen – Another book with historical aspects, this one involving time travel, and the possibility of Limbo. How can you not want to read it? I know I do!

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones 4.Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones – I already did a Waiting on Wednesday about this book late last year, but Illusive remains as a book I can’t wait to get my hands on. Science fiction holds a special place in bookish heart and this could be just what it needs.

 5. The Fire Wish by Amber Lough – I don’t know too much about this one, but when I saw jinnis, magic lamps, and a “world of flame and crystal” I was hooked.

 6. Winter Falls by Nicole Maggi – I will admit to having worries of insta-love being present in this one, but shapeshifting, ancient warriors, and old magic were too much for me not to include it here. This deserves a shot. 

7. Essence by Lisa Ann O’Kane – Essence looks to examine the full extent of our emotions and whether their impact is worth the trouble they often cause. Will the emotionless or the “paradise” of feelings win out? 

Far From You by Tess Sharpe 8. Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker – An encroaching swamp of some sort and the makings of a book right out of the Body Snatchers mold is what has me excited for this book and interested to see what Parker has to offer.

 9. Far From You by Tess Sharpe – Multiple deaths, a murder mystery, and forbidden secrets are just a taste of what Far From You will unleash in April. This debut is sure to be one I read right away!

 10. Wordless by AdriAnne Strickland – Literacy is such a huge issue and Wordless looks to offer a new view of its impact on the world. Also superpowers of various sorts. I’m sold!

So those are the top ten debuts I’m looking forward to this year! What is your top ten list for this week? Are your debuts from indie authors, mainstream, or a mix? Are they a mix of genres or mostly just one? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


End of Year Book Survey for 2013

End of Year Book Survey 2013

Totally Random Tuesday

This year was the first time I heard about the 2013 End of Year Book Survey which is hosted by the lovely Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner and I loved the idea! Apparently this is the fourth year this has been running, but better late than never! Without further ado, let’s get into the survey!

thirteen reasons why 1. Best book you read in 2013? – Every time I think of what book I loved most it always comes back to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It had all of the feels and a big part of me connected with that story, even if it hurt at times. I loved it and will likely make this one of my few re-reads of next year.

 2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer. I enjoyed everything I read by Levithan prior to this book, and there was SO much hype surrounding it so I thought it was an easy win. Boy was I wrong. It was disjointed, the female MC was just…ugh, and Cremer was not at her best here from what I have heard.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book from 2013? Doll Bones by Holly Black. I thought this would be a good MG read when I bought it, but I didn’t think I would end up loving it! Great book, wonderful characters, so sweet.

Splintered by A. G. Howard 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013? – Besides Thirteen Reasons Why, probably Splintered by A.G. Howard or Antigoddess by Kendare Blake. So many great books! ^.^

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013? – Easily the Razorland trilogy by Ann Aguirre. I’ve read (and loved) Enclave and Outpost already and Horde will be one of the first books I dive into for my challenge in 2014. It’s the best dystopian series out there.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013? – If I HAD to pick one it would be Ann Aguirre, but here is my Top Ten Tuesday post from last week about new-to-me authors which is a much better representation!

 7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? – I had read a tiny bit of steampunk before but Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger is in my top ten books for the year and made me go out and get a bunch more. Freaking awesome in every way!

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2013? – Has to be Antigoddess by Kendare Blake. The book had action galore, the story never had a dull moment, and it is about Greek mythology which I LOVE. So ya, definitely unputdownable.

 9. Book you read in 2013 that you are most likely to re-read next year? – Thirteen Reasons Why is the number one, but besides that it’d be Paper Towns by John Green. I’d love to say An Abundance of Katherines because it was the book by Green that spoke to me the most, but I technically read that in December of 2012, so Paper Towns will do quite nicely.

Lets Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson 10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. The cover is simple but adorable, and it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

 11. Most memorable character in 2013? – Ritchie Sudden from Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin. He was the most original of any character I experienced this year and the journey he takes to discover who he is was a blast to be on.

 12. Most beautifully written book in 2013? – I’m trying not to repeat myself too much so I’ll go with Looking for Alaska by John Green which was wonderfully written. Loved it.

 13. Books that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? – Thirteen Reasons Why is the far and away #1, but the other ones that comes to mind are both by Zoe E. Whitten, Penny for Your Debts & Peter the Wolf which both hit me hard.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2013 to finally read? – An argument can be made for a ton of the books I read this year, though next year the list will likely be a mile long. I’ll go with Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp which came out in 2009! Crazy.

 15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013? – From Looking for Alaska: “We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations.”

 16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2013? – I didn’t include anything of novella length so that makes my shortest book The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (145 pages) and the longest book Divergent by Veronica Roth (487 pages). I’m happy to say I enjoyed both quite a bit! ^.^

Antigoddess Cover 17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it? – I don’t remember going crazy over any one scene despite reading about so many great ones, but there was definitely one involving the feather on the cover of Antigoddess that had me going right to Twitter. Kendare Blake, why do you make me love you so?

 18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2013? – The dynamic between Artemis Fowl and Holly Short in the Artemis Fowl series is beautiful and I ship them so hard (as weird as that may be).

 19. Favorite book you read in 2013 from an author you’ve read previously? – Outside of the books previously mentioned, it would likely be the most bizarre book I read this year, Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin. A great read but truly insane.

 20. Best book you read in 2013 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else?Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver. I believe it was Kat from Katytastic on YouTube (who is awesome by the way) that recommended this one to me as well as Doll Bones, and both are my favorite MG reads for the year so thank you Kat!

 21. Genre you read the most from in 2013? – I’d say it is a tie between fantasy and contemporary, to close to call.

 22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013? – So many to choose from! It’s got to be Aja Killian from the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale who is just so adorably awkward. ❤

Insomnia by J.R. Johansson 23. Best 2013 debut you read? – Besides Splintered? Then it has to be Insomnia by J.R. Johansson, a pretty creepy book that I enjoyed quite a bit.

 24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013? – Splintered and Antigoddess for the umpteenth time, but also Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Holy freaking crap. Just read it if you haven’t, so pretty!

 25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2013? – Etiquette & Espionage again, but also Going Nowhere Faster by Sean Beaudoin was a really fun read. His sense of humor and mine just click.

 26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013? – Thirteen Reasons Why is really the only book I read this year that had me super close to tears. I felt all of the emotions while reading that book.

 27. Book you read in 2013 that you think got overlooked this year or when it came out?The Archived by Victoria Schwab. While Vicious has been received and enjoyed by many, The Archived seemed to be a book that people only found out after Vicious’s success, and I encourage any who are on the fence to give it a try.

I hope you enjoyed this survey and feel free to join in on the fun by clicking here and linking up your own responses! I definitely plan to do this again next year, it should be pretty interesting to see how the books I read then will match up to the ones from 2013. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about the new authors you discovered this year! This was my first year where I really dove into reading at a higher, book blogger-level pace, so pretty much all of the authors I read this year were new for me.  So these are just SOME of my favorites in no particular order. Enjoy! ^.^

1. Jay Asher – Author of Thirteen Reasons Why, my favorite book I read in 2013. I LOVED that book for reasons I can’t even explain. It was easily the book that hit me the hardest emotionally, where I felt like the book really took me to that story and forced me to live through every ordeal and difficulty along with the characters. It was brutal, it was draining, and I loved it, so for that Asher is on this list.

2. A.G. Howard – Author of Splintered, my favorite debut of 2013 by a wide margin, and someone who I’ve even had the pleasure of speaking with on Twitter! She is so sweet, and Splintered being her debut with how amazing it was still boggles my mind. I look forward to reading Unhinged so I have an excuse to talk with/about her more just as much as for the book itself. ^.^

3. Gail Carriger – Author of Etiquette & Espionage, my favorite book outside of my usual genres and also in my top 5 overall for the year. I haven’t spoken to Carriger, but I did REALLY enjoy E&E and need to get to book two early next year. Her writing, engaging characters, and fantastic world building do it for me in every way and I get to read steampunk!

4. Ann Aguirre – Author of Enclave and Outpost, two more of my favorite reads of the year and the best dystopian series out there. Aguirre is someone I respect as an author, a person, and as someone who fights against adversity and stereotyping. I became such a big fan of her and her work that I bought EVERY single book she has out for my print collection, and her discussion on females in science fiction writing was a huge part of that. If you haven’t read it I highly encourage you to do so here. I can’t say enough nice things about her, she’s an inspiration.

5. Victoria Schwab – Author of The Archived, a book that definitely made my top ten for the year and a series I can’t wait to continue in January when The Unbound is released. Schwab is one of the best bookish/author personalities on Twitter, really fun to talk to, and I loved The Archived so more of her books in my life in 2014 will be wonderful.

6. Leigh Wilder – Author of the Deadly Liaisons series and one of my best author friends on Twitter. Her naughty books add some spice to my reading life which is much needed and her writing is excellent. She’s got a great sense of humor, I love talking to her as often as I can manage, and I can’t wait for more of her work next year.

7. Zoe E. Whitten – Author of Peter the Wolf and Penny for Your Debts, one of the most skilled writers you probably (sadly) haven’t heard of, and whose collection I own on my Kindle app on my computer. She is another of my best author friends on Twitter, and someone I could never get tired of talking to. She’s amazing and so are her books, I look forward to reading more in 2014. ^.^

8. Rick Riordan – Author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and someone I’m sure  anyone reading this knows all about. I found out about Riordan way late in the game, but I enjoyed the first two Percy Jackson books and I’m excited to read more by him next year.

9. Larry Kollar – Author of Accidental Sorcerers and White Pickups, someone you probably (and again sadly) might not have heard of, and a great friend of mine on Twitter. Larry is a great guy, always funny, and one of the most enthusiastic authors that I’ve come across. I enjoyed his series thus far and look forward to see what he has in store for 2014! ^.^

10. Maureen Johnson – Author of The Name of the Star, a name the vast majority of you know, and a fellow nerdfighter. I’ve only read The Name of the Star by her so far, despite owning the sequel, but I did enjoy it and Maureen, of course, is amazing on all fronts so I’m sure I’ll like the rest of her work too. She’s hilarious, a fantastic Twitter personality, and great on vlogbrothers videos. Need I say more?

So those are the top ten new-to-me authors for this year! What is your top ten list for this week? Are your authors mainstream, indie, or a mix? Are they ones that debuted in 2013 or, like mine, have been at it for a while? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about the books you can’t wait to read this winter! I’m not going to be doing much reading with finals going on in the next couple weeks for college, so this is my top ten for January. ^.^

1. Unhinged by A.G. Howard – This was my latest Waiting on Wednesday and with Splintered being in my top 5 favorite reads of 2013, my anticipation for Unhinged is unmeasurable. I’ll be doing a review on the release day so look for that!

2. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab – I really enjoyed The Archived earlier this year, and I’m sure The Unbound will have me raving as well. Another book I have on pre-order and plan to review on the release day. Huzzah for planning ahead! ^.^ 

3. Bang by Lisa McMann – Crash was an enjoyable read for me, and I like McMann’s style of writing quite a bit. Bang is pretty short so I should breeze through this one and it is quite literally staring at me on my stacks of books, waiting, watching.

4. Horde by Ann Aguirre – The only reason I haven’t read this already (besides a lack of time) is because I’m saving it for the 365 books in 365 days challenge that I will be doing next year. I loved Enclave and Outpost, and I’m sure Horde will meet and even surpass my lofty expectations. The day I get to read this will be a fun one.

5. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger – Etiquette and Espionage is another book in my top 5 for 2013, so to say I am looking forward to reading Curtsies & Conspiracies would be a massive understatement. These books have fabulous characters, a creative spin on werewolves and vampires, and THE MOST AMAZING WRITING EVER. I’m fine…really I swear. >.>

6. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn – I know, I know, this was released this summer, but I haven’t read it yet! All I have heard about this book is that it’s one of the best “mind fucks” out there right now, which has me really eager to dive in. Can’t wait!

7. In the After by Demitria Lunetta – Another book released this summer that I didn’t devour along with seemingly everyone else. I hesitate to read this in January with In the End not coming out until June of next year, but the wonderful people at Epic Reads keep saying how the first 100 pages are the best they’ve probably read this year. I can’t resist!

8. Pivot Point by Kasie West – I swear I’m reading this in January no matter what! It came out all the way back in February of this year and it’s been sitting on my shelves for roughly that same amount of time along with all of the other neglected books I plan to read next year during the challenge. I know it is going to be good, it will be a stress free reading day because of it, and I’m psyched! Emerald Green

9. 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil – 3:59 came out in mid September this year and I mostly want to get into this one because of how much I like and respect McNeil as a person. I follow her on Twitter, read any content by/about her (which came out a bit more stalkery then I had intended), and just think she’s awesome. If 3:59 is half as amazing as she is I’ll be in for a great time.

10. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier – Book three in the Ruby Red Trilogy, Emerald Green will complete a series that still has me flummoxed. I LOVE certain elements like the characters Lucy and Paul (whom I hope have bigger roles in Emerald Green), Madame Rossini and her fabulous dresses and accessories, and TIME TRAVEL because who doesn’t love time travel? However, the MC, Gwen, is not my favorite and the romance going on isn’t either, but I’m still really excited to finish the trilogy. Where will Gier take us next?

So those are the top ten books I can’t wait to read this winter (specifically in January)! What is your top ten list for this week? Are yours spread out over the course of the winter months? Are they all new books or do you have a few that you’ve put off until now? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Character Names I Love

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about character names you LOVE!

1. Sevy from The Sevy Series by Sarah-Jane Lehoux – One of my favorite characters, Sevy’s name fits perfectly because just like her it is short, sweet, and it kicks ass. I can’t imagine her having any other name, and in fantasy the short kick-butt names are hard to come by.

2. Fade from The Razorland Series by Ann Aguirre – Even though Fade isn’t the MC in the series I felt that his name really matched his character’s style. The guy really does fade into the background at times but then BOOM comes to the forefront and kicks major Freak butt! Great character, perfect name.

Ritchie Sudden

3. Ritchie Sudden from Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin – Ritchie Sudden, to me at least, seems like a punky, rocker-dude type name, and that’s pretty much what he is in Wise Young Fool. His last name, Sudden, goes well with his character’s meteoric rise, and fall, in the rocker scene. I’d like to chill with Sudden any day, but he’s too cool for that.

4. Colin Singleton from An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – How could this pairing be any better? It’s perfect! Colin, an unassuming, uninspiring first name (no offence to the Colins out there, my name is Eric so I feel your pain), for a guy that is constantly underachieving considering his genius-level brain. Plus, Singleton as a last name for a guy who keeps getting dumped? Nicely done Mr. Green, nicely done.

5. Bobby Pendragon from The Pendragon Series by D.J. MacHale –  I can never remember a title from this series to save my life when I want to discuss it, but I’ll never forget the name of the series as a whole, or its protagonist. With a last name like Pendragon how can you not be destined for awesome adventures? Exactly.

6. Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard – I’m guessing my love for this name stems from a certain Matrix character, but Morpheus in Splintered deserves full credit for living up to every bit of the coolness that I associate with his name. He is awesome, if a bit psychotic (but what great characters aren’t a little nuts), and being on his team over Jeb is as easy as breathing. Wonderful.

7. Artemis Fowl from The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer – Maybe this one is more about the character than the name, but considering the guy has the name of a god(dess) perhaps not. Artemis Fowl is the guy I think I always wanted to be, at least after he learned compassion to an extent, and I would trade names with him faster than he can create a time paradox (that’s pretty quick by the way). Amazing character, fantastic series, kick-ass name.

8. Frodo from The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien – Oh come on, did you really think I was going to skip my namesake? I have been called “Frodo” or some variant of it for over a decade now and it’s more “me” than my real name by any measure. frodo smile

9. Bartimaeus from The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud – I have no real explanation for this one except that I love the name just as much as the djinni that it belongs to. It’s original, it’s fun, and it sticks in the brain, can’t go wrong with that!

10. Margo Roth Spiegelman from Paper Towns by John Green – It flows off the tongue so easily and is just as unquantifiable as the character that bears her name. She is an event, a magical adventure, and the name might be a bit of a mouthful at times, but I think it’s perfect. Yes I’m repeating authors, and descriptive words, but these characters and their names are soooo good!

So those are the top ten character names I love! What is your top ten list for this week? Are yours more peculiar or do they match perfectly with the characters? Are they long or short, hilarious or straightforward? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Totally Random Tuesday: The I’m Not Abandoning You Edition

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Totally Random Tuesday

If you have been following the blog recently you may have noticed that there wasn’t a post on Sunday or Monday, for this I apologize. School caught up and I was sick for the last week with a mixture of stomach, nose, and headache issues. Yesterday was the first day I managed to leave the house so obviously it wasn’t a funfest. However, I do have today as the last day of the wonderful Fraterfest readathon and I plan to read at least one more book, possibly two. I also have the next two days free of college stuff AND my favorite readathon of the year, at least for 24hr ones, Dewey’s readathon is SATURDAY!!! I’m incredibly excited because Dewey’s is always amazing, a ton of fun, and I have that day free as well so I’m all in on the 24hr book/twitter/challenge/awesomeness.

What does that rambling all mean? I’m stockpiling reviews, huzzah! I currently have six books read and waiting to be reviewed plus between now and the end of Dewey’s I should have that number into double digits which would be awesomesauce and amazeballs and all of the other goofy combo words we use now. So here’s the deal for this week. There will not be a YA Wednesday tomorrow, but there WILL be a wrapup post for Fraterfest to make up for that! There WILL be a Frodo’s Frisky Friday AND I’m doing another giant book haul Sunday Post to recap all of the amazing things I’ve received in the past ~3weeks, so hopefully that gets you a bit excited! Thanks as always for reading and I’m off to do some reading of my own! See you tomorrow! ^.^


Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

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Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about things in books that rub you the wrong way and make it harder to keep reading.

1. Insta-love – You know my feelings on it if you follow this blog, I can’t stand it, I want it to go away, and I feel like it is a cop-out. Bleh.

2. Repetition – Whether it is a specific word or an entire phrase, if I see the same wording over and over again I’m going to get annoyed. For anyone who has read a certain series that I won’t name they will know what I mean by just saying “sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.” Just no.

3. Tense Changes – This can be switching from first person to third, or from past to present, regardless I want consistency.

4. Whiny MCs – For some reason in YA you find a lot of whiners. They complain over just about everything and yet we are supposed to support them throughout the book. No thanks. Grow a spine people!

5. Information Skips – Oh you didn’t think we would like to know how we got somewhere in the story? Wrong. You jumped right into the action and ignored the buildup? Good grief. Any time in a book where we lose out on information is not a good sign for me.

6. Jargon, Jargon, Jargon – Yes, certain genres utilize jargon more than others (I’m looking at you high fantasy and sci-fi) but some do it to their detriment. Sure, a new language can be introduced and even used for much of a book, but sometimes it is obvious that the new jargon is unnecessary and that’s when it becomes an issue, or when its purpose is not explained.

7. Modern Pop-culture References – Look, I get that you want to appeal to your current audience as much as possible as an author. However, if you use pop-culture references, especially multiple times, your work has a timer on it. Eventually a time will come, usually it doesn’t take long, where that reference won’t make sense to a reader anymore. Will your book stand the test of time?

8. Typos – They happen, inevitably it seems there is one or two in a book, although many seem to be flawless. When I see a typo in an e-book, even though I shouldn’t be I am more liable to give it a pass, but when it is in print, well, it is a red flag. I won’t stop reading the book, but it might be a point I mention in a review.

9. Character 180s – When a character changes, even in a dramatic way, over the course of a book it is a wondrous thing. However, when I see someone in a book I’m reading do a 180, alter their personality in a major way, and do so usually because of something rather irritating (think relationships) it is a huge turn-off. Give it time for a character to change, this stuff doesn’t happen right away!

10. Dull, Boring, Zzz – If your story doesn’t have something to draw me in within the first 75-100 pages I’m probably not likely to keep reading it unless your name is Stephen King. There are very few exceptions to this and I know I’m not alone, especially with the current generation that are reading YA having attention spans that are the most minute there has ever been. The author must stimulate the senses right away in order to capture the reader’s attention. There is just no choice, slow buildups are tough these days.

So those are my top ten book turn-offs! What is your top ten list for this week? Do you have some ones or am I just a lunatic? Are most of the ones you chose technical or more about the story? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it is all about the best sequels eveeeeeeeeer! ^.^

1. Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #2) by Christopher Paolini – This book is still one of my favorites and I really need to re-read it soon. It literally changed my life in ways I can’t accurately describe. Also ELVES. Eldest

2. The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien – Like I wasn’t going to include book two of my favorite series ever, come on. Seriously though The Two Towers has epic battles, ENTS, and whatever the Aragorn and Eowyn ship is called, that, yes please.

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling – I did it! I managed just to pick one, huzzah! Really I could have put the whole series as it kept getting better, but I picked six which is still my favorite, possibly, just maybe because of a certain kiss. ^.^

4. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan – The main reason I chose book two for this series, besides it being really, really good, is that I am a terrible horrible person and haven’t even read book three yet. >.< I’ll get to them I swear! *hides*

5. Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake – I basically lost my mind after I finished this book…to the point where I went on Twitter, asked the author (who was kind enough to respond) if there was a book three coming, and when I found out there wasn’t proceeded to absolutely lose my shit. Luckily this was just done in my house, a few I NEED MOOOOAAAAAAR type tweets, and nothing I really regret. Seriously though. Please? Book three? I’m begging here. GoN

6. Necromancing the Stone (Necromancer #2) by Lish McBride – Well…this series does technically continue into books three and four…but they don’t come until like ~2015 and from what I’ve heard it doesn’t seem like they even follow quite the same arc, just maybe in the same universe or something. Regardless, I really loved Necromancing the Stone, the hard edge that it got after the humorous/light-hearted book one, and how McBride ended what, I thought at the time at least, was a duology.

7. Shades of War (Sevy #2) by Sarah-Jane Lehoux – Another book that had me filled with ALL the emotions. I love Sevy, I think this is my favorite book in the series because of where she is at in her journey and the setting as well (pretty jungle!), and there is a really fun monkey in it. Nope, I’m not explaining that further, go read the book (and the series) if you haven’t already. Thank me later. ^.^

8. The Reality Bug (Pendragon #4) by D.J. MacHale – Love, love, love this series and it kills me that I haven’t finished it. The Reality Bug is my favorite, though The Never War is close, because it addresses one of the big fears some people have today, that we are losing ourselves to the virtual world. It goes to an extreme to make this point, but in a good way, and I happen to really like Aja, the traveler in this world. She’s just fantastic.

9. Ptolemy’s Gate (Bartimaeus #3) by Jonathan Stroud – I’ve re-read this series more than any other besides Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, oh ya, it’s THAT good. Ptolemy’s Gate is the epic conclusion, driving daggers into your heart, filled with awesome battles, and I am all about the Nathaniel/Kitty ship. Yes please. Love this book and the series so much. Ptolemy's Gate

10. The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl #3) by Eoin Colfer – Another series I stopped reading for no apparent (or at least good) reason that I need to get back to and finish. The Eternity Code is where I felt the series really took off after book two left me a bit cold (pardon the pun), and I really do love me some supercomputers. Oh, and more fairies? Always.

So those are my top ten best sequels ever! I now want to go re-read all of those series. *sobs for lack of time* Some day! What is your top ten list for this week? Do you want to re-read ALL THE SERIES now? Are most of the ones you chose recent series or ones you read when you were younger? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Top Ten Books on My 2013 Fall TBR List

TotallyRandomTuesday

Totally Random Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday you could talk about books on your TBR you plan to get to in the fall or fall releases you are excited for, I went with the latter. ^.^

September

1. 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil – I won’t have to wait very long to jump right into this book as it is supposed to show up at my door today! I really enjoy McNeil’s writing, there has been a ton of positive buzz over the book from other bookish bloggers, and the premise reminds me of Lucid but with a much darker twist which should make for a fantastic read.

2. Vicious by V.E. Schwab – Another book I’ve heard great buzz about and since I enjoyed Schwab’s The Archived I have high hopes for Vicious. Also, superpowers!!!

October

3. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell – I’m guessing that none of you have heard of this unless you read one of my previous posts about Gladwell. This is non-fiction, all about underdogs and how they surpass the giants of the world (think companies), and though I know it isn’t likely most of your cup of tea, his writing is fabulous and it is one I’m super excited for. ^.^

4. Unbreakable by Kami Garcia – She wrote Beautiful Creatures, it’s another paranormal universe, and there is a murder mystery to solve! Need I say more?

5. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier – Book 3 in the Ruby Red Trilogy, Emerald Green should be a fantastic conclusion to a fascinating take on time travel. I still haven’t read Sapphire Blue (I’ll get to it soon I swear) but as I enjoyed Ruby Red I have no doubt Emerald Green will bring me all the feels.

6. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan – No one needs me to hype up a Rick Riordan book, believe me I know. The House of Hades sounds great, will bring on some Underworld baddies, and who doesn’t want more Percy in their lives? No one.

7. Allegiant by Veronica Roth – I know, I know, many book bloggers LOVED Divergent but Insurgent left them cold, so where will Allegiant fall? I don’t know, but I’m guessing toward the latter as I think Insurgent suffered a sophomore year slump and Allegiant will get us back into the world we fell in love with with a vengeance. I’m excited! ^.^

8. Horde by Ann Aguirre – If you follow ze blog you know Aguirre is on my auto-buy author list, and since this is my favorite series I have read by her (so far) Horde has me making all the squees and grabby hands. I MUST have this book!

9. Altered by Gennifer Albin – Did you love Crewel? I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m psyched for Altered! Discovering what’s left of the ruins on Earth, dodging the attacks sent by the Guild and finding out more of who and what Adelice is? Sign me up!

November

10. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger – Yes, I know this book comes out in early November but I am so still considering that “fall” if it allows me to include C&C. Etiquette & Espionage is one of my favorite books I have read this year and sits happily on my 5-Frodo shelf. Why wouldn’t I love Curtsies & Conspiracies just as much? Can’t wait!

So those are my ten books that I am looking forward to releasing (and reading) this fall! What is your top ten list for this week? Did you choose to focus on new releases or your TBR? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


Random Sunday Is Random

Pretty Pictures!

So, if you have visited my blog in the last few days you might have noticed something pretty freaking awesome. I have new images to go with my brand new features! Huzzah! The only one I don’t have is something for Sunday and that’s because it is just a standard review and I don’t really have a name for a “feature” for that anyhow. It may not get one, but I’ll still post the review, at least most of the time. However! This Sunday, aka today, shall be random and filled with my brand new wonderful images!

Where did I get these? Who made them? Why it was Kelly from Reading the Paranormal, one of the brilliant minds behind Bout of Books and one of the writers of a favorite feature of mine, GLA reviews! I asked Twitter if anyone would be kind enough to make me a few images for the new features on the schedule and she was generous and accepted! I paid of course, I’m no mooch or anything, but I am soooo happy with them! Thank you Kelly!!! ^.^ Without further ado, or squeeing, ok maybe some more squeeing, the new feature images!

MiniReviewMonday

Mini Review Monday is all about my Hobbit Sized Reviews where I give you a short and sweet dose of what I think about the latest book I read. What is one of the main reasons I like to do these? I can get out all of the feels in review form without spending time I don’t have on perfecting a full length review. That doesn’t mean I skimp on the good stuff! I just compact it a little and share my overall emotions. What do I try and do with the time I save by writing a mini-review? See those stacks of books? Yep, I read more. That’s basically what my wall looks like right now, stack after stack of books waiting to be read!

TotallyRandomTuesday

Squeee! This one is my favorite of the new images! Kelly went for the random items to match the name and that plus the color scheme works perfectly for me. I feel like there could be historical documents or something in that pile! Weeee, loooove this! Embrace the random!

YAWednesday

Isn’t it preeeeeetty?! ^.^ I looove the scroll, it’s almost as fabulous as the cool art display going on behind it! I need something bright and cheery sometimes and this image does the trick. Plus the lighthearted theme goes well with the usually-lighter YA books. ^.^

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Last, but certainly not least, Frodo’s Frisky Friday! I love having an adult/mature content feature after being so YA heavy in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I love my YA books, they still make up the majority of my reads, but every so often I need to get naughty or at least read about people that have made it out of high school. Kelly was so sweet in letting me use the image that has been used for Doin’ It Dirty and tweaking it a bit for my feature! It’s sexy without being over the top and just perfect. Yay!

So those are the lovely new pictures for the features on the new schedule! I hope you like them as much as I do! Thanks for the umpteenth time to Kelly for making these for me! Enjoy your weekend. ^.^


Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught in Schools

TotallyRandomTuesday

Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught in Schools

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday was either “Top 10 Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book” (like Perks of Being A Wallflower with Catcher in the Rye) OR “Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools” and I decided to go with the latter! This is my first Top Ten Tuesday and I’m excited to dive right in so let’s go! (In no particular order)

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I’m sure this is going to be on lists everywhere but I HAD to include it! As one of the best books I’ve ever read it would be a great choice just to showcase the best books have to offer! There are hard realities showcased, a beautiful relationship to discuss and the meaning/purpose of life could certainly be examined using TFiOS. Class – English

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth – Another easy choice for me, Divergent would be a perfect book for examining alternative ways of living and different cultures. Differing values and priorities as well as a fabulously constructed dystopian world are all available for discussion. Class – English or Social Studies (World Cultures)

3. Splintered by A.G. Howard – The best fairy tale retelling I’ve ever read. If this isn’t a perfect example of how to take one story and turn it on its head than I don’t know what is. Have the students recreate a classic (or part of it since classics are REALLY FREAKING LONG most of the time) and lesson plan done for a couple weeks. Class – English

4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan – You want an easy example for discussing acceptance, lifestyles, different perspectives or just plain great writing? This is it. Need a book for GLBTA discussions? Got you covered. Class – English or Sociology

5. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – This book is amazing, as is Gladwell and I’m sure it already is being used by some freaking awesome teachers but it could be used by way more. It’s all about how the mind works, instant decision making and perception. It’s also a ton of fun to read. Class – Psychology

6. Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich by Jim Cramer – While the title sounds like a bogus self-help book, the material within is anything but. Cramer has tv show (Jim Cramer’s Mad Money) that is hilarious but informative and this book is just as solid in both categories. Mad for Life is the best choice out of his books for students because it is applicable for those of any age group and it covers everything about the stock market with the average person in mind. Class – Economics

7 & 8. Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz & Insomnia by J. R. Johansson – I group these together because they are both great for the same reason. While Lucid uses multiple perspectives and Insomnia uses only one they both examine alternate (Lucid) or twisted (Insomnia) reality and what happens to a person’s mind when exposed to that type of reality too much. In both cases something has to give and Lucid and Insomnia are brilliantly written so they’d be enjoyable reads to boot. Class – English or Psychology

9. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – It’s more of a MG read than YA but I think it would be a perfect way for students to get excited about mythology. I loved all the different mythologies in high school naturally but some people might need an extra push and who better to give them one than Riordan? The Lightning Thief is beloved by just about every book blogger so I don’t think I need to say more. Class – Social Studies (World History or any class incorporating mythology)

10. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman – This was actually assigned to me, though I forget whether it was for high school or college, and I am so thankful that it was. At the time I read the two separate pieces but this is nicely in one package and still not too long (296 pages). If you don’t know this is a graphic novel about a survivor of the Holocaust. It’s beautifully done and I recommend it to anyone. Class – English or Social Studies (World History – specifically WWII)

So those are my ten books that I wish were taught in schools! What is your top ten list for this week? Did you choose this theme or the 10 contemporary books or something different altogether? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


New Blog Schedule!

New Blog Schedule!

YEAH

I’ve been talking about a new blog schedule on Twitter quite a bit lately. While I haven’t finalized the image headers and what not that I’ll be using I have completed the schedule itself. Huzzah! So this will just be a quick post about what to look for in the future on ze blog, sound good? Let’s do this thing!

Monday: Mini Review Monday – The title is pretty self explanatory but every Monday (apart from today since I’m doing this post instead) I will do a Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Review! They are short, sweet, and, I think, a pretty nice and easy way to start off your week. A quick review to lighten your Monday woes! ^.^

Tuesday: Totally Random Tuesday – Again this is pretty obvious based on the title but this is where I’ll try to bring a little randomness to the blog. I also really like The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, though I’ve never participated prior to the new schedule, and I’ll be mixing in some of those type of posts as well. You’ll never know exactly what kind of post I’ll do on Tuesdays and I think that adds a little excitement! Weeee!

Wednesday: YA Wednesday – The title isn’t set yet on this one but it’ll work for now at least. Most of my reviews when I started the blog are YA but that has changed lately and I’m trying to bring it back around to the YA I love and enjoy. Every week you will be getting at least one YA review this way so if that is your cup of tea (or coffee) make sure you stop by on Wednesdays!

Thursday: OFF/Open – No, I’m not going crazy and trying to post every day. I’m working full time and going to college (online) full time as well so I just can’t generate that much content. There may be posts on Thursday but nothing weekly.

Friday: Frodo’s Frisky Friday – This is the feature I’m really happy with. I’ve been reading more Adult/Mature Content/Naughty books lately, especially after I discovered Leigh Wilder and Zoe E. Whitten which made it to my small auto-buy author list immediately, and I wanted to feature those books. In order to do this while knowing I have a lot of younger teens reading the blog, and because I don’t like having to put warnings and “see more” tags, this day is devoted to books/pieces with mature content. Mostly these will be reviews but I may have an interview or guest post in the future. If you don’t like Erotica, reads with mature content, adult-oriented reads or what have you just skip Friday, I totally understand. Otherwise come on and enjoy the fun! I have a bunch of these ready to go! ^.^

Saturday: OFF/Open – Same as Thursday, another breather day for me on the blog. Again, there may be posts on Saturdays but nothing weekly.

Sunday: Standard Review Sunday – That’s not a title/weekly event necessarily, just a description for now. Sundays will be devoted to book reviews and while they may be YA they don’t have to be. There will NOT be any reviews that would normally fall under Friday’s content, I’m just leaving this one open to any other style of book I happen to have read recently.

So what do you lovely people think? Too much content? Not enough? Are the weekly features ones you would be interested in and are there any in particular you are excited for? Let me know! This schedule will officially start NEXT WEEK! I’m going to use this week as testing grounds because it is the first week of college, a full week at work and my last days to get content ready for the new schedule. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^