Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fiction for Feminists

Thursday, January 31, 2013
I don't even like to think about where I would be if it weren't for books. I know YA especially has helped shape my ideas, my opinions, who I am as a person. I've always been a feminist, but the YA blogging community, and these books in particular, have added to that. 
Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)
The Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore
"He laughed. "I know you"re teasing me. And you should know I'm not easily humiliated. You may hunt for my food, and pound me every time we fight, and protect me when we're attacked, if you like. I'll thank you for it." 
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2)The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3)
The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
"No one asks how or what I am doing. They could not care less. We’re all looking glasses, we girls, existing only to reflect their images back to them as they’d like to be seen. Hollow vessels of girls to be rinsed of our own ambitions, wants, and opinions, just waiting to be filled with the cool, tepid water of gracious compliance."
Beauty Queens
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
 "Sexuality is not meant to be this way - an honest, consensual expression in which a girl might take an active role when she feels good and ready and not one minute before. No. Sexual desire is meant to sell soap. And cars. And beer. And religion." 
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksGood Girls
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Good Girls by Laura Ruby
"You have some balls."
Frankie hated that expression, ever since Zada had pointed out to her that it equates courage with the male equipment..." (Disreputable History)

"'What's a slut, anyway?' I say. 'Why isn't there a name for guys who do the same thing?'
'Player. Pimp,' she says.
'Please,' I say. 'Those are compliments.'" (Good Girls)
Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1)Bloodhound (Beka Cooper, #2)Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)
The Beka Cooper Series by Tamora Pierce
"'And now you're off to Port Caynn. Watch them sailor lads. They'll have your skirts up and a babe in your belly afore you know what you're about.'
'Everyone keep warning me about sailors,' I complained. 'Why can't someone tell the sailors to stay clear of me?'



Basically, thank you to the authors who wrote these amazing books. You've changed my life.

Have you read any of these? Can you think of any books I could add to this list? 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (69)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Top Ten Infuriating Characters
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Claire (Ask the Passengers)
Ask The Passengers
Claire is nearly everything a mother shouldn't be.

2. Susan (The Last Battle)
The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7)
SPOILER: The fact that Susan denied Narnia in the end existed ticked me off *so* much.

3. Umbridge (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)
Who didn't want to punch this woman, seriously?

4. Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns)
Paper Towns
Don't get me wrong- I *love* this book and don't completely dislike Margo. I thought she was cool, but selfish. I think she's meant to be a bit frustrating.

5. Jen (So Yesterday)
So Yesterday
I liked her initially, but she was fairly cliche and her actions, especially at the end, didn't always fit her characterizations.

6. Sharon (Audrey, Wait!)
Audrey, Wait!
She's the mean girl in this book and she fills her role perfectly.

7. Brother Leon (The Chocolate War)
The Chocolate War (Chocolate War, #1)
There are no words to describe this man except, perhaps, evil.

8. TOM SAWYER
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
I consider Tom Sawyer to be the most irritating character in all of American literature. Huck Finn would have been a *much* better book if he hadn't returned for the last few chapters.

9. The King and the Duke (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
They were around for far, far too long. Ugh.

I'm going to have to stop there for this week. I'll add more if I can think of any others.

Which characters did you find frustrating?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Monday, January 28, 2013
Genre: Historical fiction/fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown
Series: The Diviners #1
Website: http://thedivinersseries.com/
Source: Bought
The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
Evie isn't like everyone else in her hometown. She's too spirited and headstrong, not to mention her magical ability to find out about people through reading their belongings. After one of her stunts goes too far, her parents ship her off to New York City, which, in her opinion is hardly a punishment. However, once a string of murders starts happening, Evie gets sucked in to finding the perpetrator. With her uncle Will, Jericho (her uncle's mysteriously quiet assistant), Sam (a conceited, charming thief), and Mabel (her best friend), she works towards putting together a crime that's years old. They're not the only ones wrapped up in the mystery. Theta, of the Ziegfeld Follies, is trying to make it in the City and forget her past. Memphis wants to be the next Langston Hughes, but has to provide for his family. But no matter where you come from, or who you want to be, no one is safe from Naughty John. 

The Setting
Ah, the roaring twenties. Ever since I saw the show Thoroughly Modern Millie, I've loved reading and learning about this time period. The freedom, the jazz, the writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, etc.), the fashion... and all of it at odds with the values and rules of an older generation. Bray captures that contention (and all of the glitz) within the pages of The Diviners, showing the twenties from every angle. The setting is so vivid that it feels like I actually walked down the streets of 1920s New York myself. This book also made me wish we could bring back some twenties slang. Wouldn't that be just jake?

The Characters
There are many leading characters in The Diviners. Stories told from multiple viewpoints are great when done right, and Bray did not disappoint. Each character is different, with their own bright personalities and quirks that make them feel incredibly real. Evie is the protagonist- she's something of a Millie in the sense that she wants to escape her small-minded, small town roots and be a proper flapper in the City. She's impulsive and selfish, and generally very infuriating. But despite her many flaws, she is courageous and intelligent. Theta and Memphis are tied for my favorite character, though. Theta's quips often had me smirking, but she's also one of the most sympathetic characters in the book. Memphis, meanwhile, possesses amazing hope while trying to balance responsibility and guilt.

"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on..."
The Diviners centers around a ghost story, that of Naughty John. It's creepy, especially because of the song that accompanies the ghost, and it will definitely give you chills. You probably don't want to read the scenes with Naughty John at night. And let's just say I haven't been able to go near my Ouija board since I read this book. Add to all of this the fact that Evie is staying at her uncle's occult museum, and the atmosphere Bray has created becomess fantastically eerie.

Final Thoughts
I await the second book in this series with bated breath. There is so much left to be determined and I can't wait to see where Bray will take the story next!
*4.5 stars*
Other books by Libba Bray: The Gemma Doyle trilogy, Going Bovine, Beauty Queens
What is your favorite time period to read about?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

In My Mailbox (69)

Sunday, January 27, 2013
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!
As always, my apologies for the terrible photo quality.
In My Mailbox
In the Mail:
The Cadet of Tildor Swag
The author sent this out as thanks for bloggers who had participated in the blog tour, which was really nice of her! Pictured about is a magnet, signed bookmarks, a signed book card, and a rubber bracelet. Thank you, Ms. Lidell!

Bought:
So I didn't hold out long when it came to limiting my book intake. But I was at Barnes and Noble and still had a little bit of money left on a gift card... It took a lot of restraint not to buy more books than this, such as Just One Day, The Archived, Paper Valentine, etc.
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of the most AMAZING books I've ever read, so I had to get the sequel straight away. Isn't the cover gorgeous??

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
I got this for under $2 thanks to a clearance sale! Now all I need is Northanger Abbey to complete my Austen collection. (:

Weekly Recap
Monday
Rockoholic

Tuesday

Thursday

Friday

Have you read Laini Taylor's books? What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bookish Buys: Banned Books and a Bookmark

Friday, January 25, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items. 
i read banned books square magnet
Banned Books Magnet
Say it loud, say it proud.

Smoke and Bone Necklace
There's a whole jewelry collection based on The Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

Leather Bookmark - Wise Owl - Hand Carved and Tooled - Original Starry Night Owl Design - Hedwig Harry Potter
Owl Bookmark
Adorable owl + bookish accessory = perfection.

Looking For Alaska by John Green "I Go To Seek A Great Perhaps" (Plain Black) by runswithwolves
Looking for Alaska iPhone/iPod Case
Not going to lie: I want this so, so badly.

Are any of these Bookish Buys going on your wishlist?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Social Media

Thursday, January 24, 2013
One of my favorite aspects of book blogging is how the community spreads from Blogger/Wordpress to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr... you name the social media site, and there's probably a decent amount of book bloggers on it. You can find links to all of the places you can find me online on the sidebar to the right, or you can just check out the links below, if you'd like:

One of my favorite sites. It's so useful and listopia is one of my biggest distractions!

Links to my latest blog posts, as well as some bookish news. 

You can also find links to my latest blog posts here, but I also tweet interesting articles from other bloggers and my thoughts on various things (especially Doctor Who), if that interests you.

I have a ton of book-related boards (Bookish Fun, Beautiful Book Covers, Book Shelves, etc.) as well as one for fashion, TV/Movies/YouTube, fairy tales, travel, and nerdy stuff. (:

Even more bookish fun! I also reblog a lot of feminism-related posts. Also, this is a good place to ask me questions, if you have anything.

Another place you can ask me stuff. (Word of advice to new bloggers: Formspring is an excellent place to learn about book blogging. A lot of excellent bloggers are on there- such as Giselle from Xpresso Reads and Kristi from The Story Siren- who will answer your questions.)

Are you on any of these sites? Leave a link so I can follow you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (68)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Top Ten Settings I Want to see More of
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Historical Russia
I find this setting fascinating, but have yet to find the book that pulls it off. Any suggestions?

2. France
Je veux voyager actuellment a la France, mais, pour maintenent, j'ai les livres. (I want to actually travel to France but, for now, I have books.)

3. Europe in general, actually.
Something a la 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson would be nice.

4. Japan
My brother went to Japan a few years back, and ever since I've found the culture really interesting.

5. Boarding School
One can never have too many boarding school books.

6. The Wizarding World
Hey, J.K. Rowling hasn't vetoed writing another HP book. A girl can dream, right?

7. *Amazing* fantasy worlds
I'm talking flawless, in depth world-building with unique twists and turns.

8. New York City
"New York, New York! It's a wonderful town."

9. Romantic Gothic settings
By that I mean, settings like that in Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken.

10. Ancient Greece
I've had a distinct lack of Greek mythology in my reading diet lately. This has to be amended!

What settings would you like to see more of?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Monday, January 21, 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic
Series: Standalone
Website: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/rockoholic
Source: ARCycling
Rockoholic
Jody is something of an emotional train wreck, even more so now because her Grandad, the one person who understood her completely, has died. Thankfully she has her best friend, Mac, and her favorite band, The Regulators. The Regulators' lead singer, Jackson, is all she ever thinks about, in fact, so when the band does a nearby concert, she's (practically) the first one in line. Jody has a lot of crazy daydreams about what might happen at this concert, but she certainly doesn't expect to kidnap him. Or for Jackson to want to stay, hidden in her garage. 

Fittingly enough, there's a perfect music lyric to fit how I feel about this book: "We could have had it all." So thanks, Adele, for that.

Basically, I went in expecting Rockoholic to be a funny, music-themed, generally light read. I was hoping for strong characters and quick wit. Honestly, I expected something like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway. And maybe my expectations were what ruined the book for me.

It also didn't help that Jody irritated me, at least for the first half of the book. (More on that in a moment.) She lacks common sense. A main character can have many flaws that I can forgive, but this is one of my pet peeves. I understand that she has emotional issues, that's fine (emotional depth isn't just a plus, it's a necessity), but there's a selfishness to her, too. I couldn't really understand why her best friend Mac (who is very awesome, the best character in the book by far) puts up with her most of the time. Jackson, at least, is well-developed. There's a drastic change from his original demeanor to who he is by the end of the book, but it's perfectly paced. Of course, the scene of his "kidnapping" is completely contrived. It had the potential to be very funny, but the set up just wasn't there.

And that's my main problem with Rockoholic: Most of it felt very forced. Sarah over at We Heart YA did an awesome post about strings, which is definitely worth a read. The strings in Rockoholic were all on display, so that it had very clear point As and point Bs, but it wasn't a well-woven story. Similarly, there was a very decisive point in the book where it was like someone flipped a switch. All of the sudden, I liked Jody ten times more, the plot was significantly smoother, and I actually felt invested in the story. It was a definite improvement, but Jody's growth didn't feel natural. It was just upset, obsession, delusion, delusion, delusion, and then BAM, new-found maturity. 

What I will say about Rockoholic is that Jody's obsession with The Regulators, while a bit extreme, is relatable. We've all been there at some point in our lives. (Confession: It was The Jonas Brothers for me. In hindsight, their lyrics aren't, erm, the best, but they were cute and their songs were catchy. I have no regrets.) It was just sad because Jody didn't really know any other bands, so the music theme I was looking for didn't exist. Another example of my expectations getting in the way of my reading experience.

I think there's a definite possibility others could love Rockoholic, but it just wasn't the book for me. It's a shame, because I still feel it had so much potential. As always when this happens, I'm just disappointed.
*3 stars*
"Music" Books You Should Check Out: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
Have you ever been obsessed with a band? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In My Mailbox (68)

Sunday, January 20, 2013
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!
As always, my apologies for the terrible photo quality.

In My Mailbox
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Nothing terribly exciting this week. I've been trying to limit my new book intake until I get through the many I currently have that need to be read.

Weekly Recap
Sunday

Monday
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Tuesday

Thursday

Friday

What did you get IYM this week? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bookish Buys: Poets, Pillows, and Projects

Friday, January 18, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items. 

Typewriter Pillow
It has a pocket, which means a perfect place to store your bookmarks!

Emily Dickinson Doll Miniature in Black Dress Poet Art Collectible
Emily Dickinson Doll
There are other authors to choose from on this site, too! (:

Eiffel Tower- Petit Feed Sack Pillow Pair - Unique paper weight, bookends, pin cushion, etc
Eiffel Tower Bookends
Adorable and very chic, non? 

created at: 07/11/2012
Skateboard Bookshelf
Cute and portable!

Will you be attempting to create one of the DIY projects featured? (I might try that pillow myself...)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Tour: The Cadet of Tildor Character Profile

Thursday, January 17, 2013
About the Book
Author: Alex Lidell
Release Date: January 10th, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Tour Organized by:  AToMR Tours

Summary
Tamora Pierce meets George R.R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Alex Lidell (www.alexlidell.com) was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award competition and lives in New Jersey. This is her first novel.


All about Lord Palan
Age: 50s
Physical Description: 
After the last Cadet vanished, a fat middle-aged man squeezed through the doorway. [...] The man puffed, either from indignation or else from the exertion of hauling his own body weight, and opened the top clasp of his shirt collar.
Quote that really fits this character's personality:
Nothing had changed in seven years. Palan's dark, intelligent gaze still tirelessly weighted everything it touched, making Savoy feel as if he held fire beside straw.
Good Quality: Very loyal to his family
Vice: Very loyal to his family

Find Out More 


Alex Lidell is a YA fantasy writer and author of ABNA Finalist THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). 
Although English is Alex’s primary language, it wasn’t her first.  Coming from Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school and fell in love with reading when the school librarian put Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA into her hands.  Years later, in college, it was another book that re-united Alex with Russian, which she had shunned in adolescence. The Three Musketeers. Alex thanks both books, and the writers who created them.
Beyond writing, Alex is also a photographer, a horseback rider, and a paramedic.  The latter two go hand in hand more often than one would like.  She is trying to self-teach herself and her horse to sword-fight.
Alex would love to see THE CADET OF TILDOR in the classroom and is working on developing teacher guides for the novel.  She enjoys “e-meeting” both students and educators.

    Twitter    Facebook     Shelfari        Library Thing

And follow the rest of the tour here: http://wp.me/p20ttU-yb

Giveaway
How excited are you for The Cadet of Tildor?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (67)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Top Ten 2013 Debuts For Which I *Cannot* Wait
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between, #1)
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Series: Between #1

2. The Ruining by Anna Collomore
The Ruining
Release Date: February 7th, 2013
Series: Standalone

3. City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
City of a Thousand Dolls
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Series: Standalone

4. Poison by Bridget Zinn (SO excited!)
Poison
Release Date: March 12th, 2013
Series: Standalone

5. Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Maid of Secrets
Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Series: Maid of Honor #1

6. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger (it's her YA debut, so I think this counts)
Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall, #1)
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Series: Let the Sky Fall #1

7. Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Pretty Girl-13
Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Series: Standalone

8. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Strands of Bronze and Gold
Release Date: March 12th, 2013
Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold #1

9. Vengeance Bound by Justine Ireland
Vengeance Bound
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Series: Standalone

10. Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey
Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1)
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Series: Secret Order of Modern Amusements #1

Honorable Mention:
Ashes on the Waves

Ones I've Already Read and LOVED:
The Tragedy PaperSplintered

What 2013 debuts are on your TBR list?