Top Ten Tuesday: Gift Me These

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re discussing books we would like as gifts this holiday season. Usually when I ask for a specific book as a gift, it’s because I read it from the library and loved it, so now I need to own it. But for the sake of this TTT, I did five books I read and want to own, then five books I want but haven’t read.

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1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: This book was great, but also it’s such a pretty book. Those black-edged pages slay me.

2.Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta: Can you believe I don’t own this? Can you believe there are any Marchetta books I don’t own? (To be honest, I read them all from the library so I only own about half of them)

3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: One of my favorite reads of the year, and one I definitely need to own.

4. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente: Do you ever have books you go back to when you’re feeling uninspired? This would be one of those books for me.

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Yeah, yeah. I’m always talking about the same books. Let’s move on.

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6. Ferragost by Melina Marchetta: Remember about seven months ago when I was like “Everybody loves Ferragost and I can buy the ebook for super cheap, so I’m just going to bite the bullet and buy it”? Yeah, I still haven’t done that.

7. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith: My library doesn’t have this ebook yet. And seeing as I’ve basically stopped going there ever since I figured out how to borrow my library system’s ebooks from the comfort of my apartment, I’m not reading this unless they get the ebook or someone literally delivers it to my door.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: People love this book and I’ve wanted to read it for ages, but my library database only carries this in audio-book form, which isn’t my style. My mind wanders too much for audio-books to be effective.

9. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente: How great is this cover? How great is this woman?

10. Cress by Marissa Meyer: I’m on the wait-list to download this ebook, but I love this series so far and I would like to read this book now please.

 

Happy holidays, everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Book Recommendations of 2015

Do your blogs ever get cannibalized by Top Ten Tuesday? I love these weekly posts and reading other people’s takes on a theme, but sometimes I’m planning on writing a post only to see that it’s the TTT for next week.

So because I want to post a Top Ten Books of 2015 post later (once I’m done reading for the year), I thought I would tweak this topic. This week I’m doing my Top Book Recommendations of 2015 (which could also double as a gift-giving guide for your friends, you’re welcome).

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For your inner child: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
I will never stop recommending this silly, clever book. I’ve always joked that I don’t have an inner child, but my love for this book may prove otherwise.

For when you’ve run out of Gaiman to read: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This was so Gaiman-esque. It reminded me a lot of Coraline.

For the optimist: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Sometimes we all need a life-affirming essay to get us feeling perked up again.

For the pessimist: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
It’s grim enough to appeal to any pessimist, but with a nice note of hope.

For the person complaining that Ocean’s Eleven needs more women/magic: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I would like for this to have started a heist trend. That should be the next big thing in YA, if you ask me.

For people who read a book for the character development: Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Josephine Alibrandi goes through such drastic changes. Queen Marchetta always comes through.

For people who read a book for the action: An Ember in the Ashes by Sahaa Tahir
A book with a cutthroat competition is always a solid bet if you’re looking to read something tense and aggressive.

For people who read a book for the description: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Is there any other book I could possibly have suggested for this category? Sure. Was it reasonable to expect me to suggest a different book? No.

TTT is hosted as always by the Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes from the Past Year

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). This week we’re listing our favorite quotes from books we’ve read in the past year. This was both easy (because I’ve read so many good books in 2015) and hard (because I’ve read so many good books in 2015 that I had too many quotes to choose from). In no particular order:

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1. “Once, last year, I started going through my sins and Father Stephen said, “Oh, it’s you, Josie.” Can you believe it? He recognized me by my sins. I’m so boring that I can’t even change my sins from term to term.”

-Melina Marchetta, Looking for Alibrandi [Josie is an absolute queen and this quote was too funny to pass over.]

2. “What Frankie did that was unusual was to imagine herself in control… She asked herself: If I were in charge, how could I have done it better?”

-E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks [This moment defined the book for me. I love how unapologetically ambitious Frankie is.]

3. “Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”

-Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [Honestly, there’s not a single page in this book without an amazing quote on it.]

4. “I was sad that summer was over. But I was happy that it was over for my enemies, too.”

– B.J. Novak, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories [None of us will ever be one-tenth as funny as B.J. Novak.]

5. “I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

-Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles [Had to include this because I’ve been in a relationship for a few years and being in love makes you soft.]

6. “The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.”

-Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe [I’m a girl, but I definitely belong to the rain. I was gleeful when it rained on my birthday this year.]

7. “I wish you the best that can be hoped for, and no worse than can be expected.”

-Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [This. Book. Though.]

8. “Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon… Is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”

-Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus [I loved this book but had a hard time finding good standalone quotes from it.]

9. “It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can’t see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people. She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her to be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead.”

-E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks [More Frankie. We all need more Frankie in our lives.]

10. “Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

-Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Lily, Lily Blue [I’m begrudgingly adding this quote because while I’m not a particular fan of Stiefvater or even this series, this was the quote that convinced me to read these books and I love love love it.]

A bonus quote from 2014 because it is probably my all-time favorite and I can’t help myself:

“It’s a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that’s kept right next to my soul and Justine’s spirit and Siobhan’s hope and Tara’s passions. Because if I’m going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I’m going to need everything I’ve got to fight this disease that could be sleeping inside of me.”

-Melina Marchetta, Saving Francesca [Sometimes I get this feeling like a moment is so happy and perfect that I need to squirrel the memory away, like when all of my best friends are in the same place at the same time, or when my parents are playing music and dancing around their kitchen. This quote reminds me of that.]


I love that two people can read the same book and have completely different bits speak to them. I’m so eager to see what quotes other people chose for their TTTs!

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Books

I’m the person who starts wearing sweaters on the first day of September. I live for cold breezes and cloudy skies, so I’m more than a little disappointed that we’re still going to have warm weather this week. To get excited for my favorite season, I decided to do Fall Books for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday freebie topic. It turned out to be harder than I anticipated (so many books take place around Christmas or in the summer?) so I used a loose definition of “fall.” Some of these books actually take place in the fall, some feature a bit about starting school in September, and some are just spooky-feeling.

9151. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente: The main character’s name is September and most of the book has a very autumnal feel, but there’s one part where they get to a forest that experiences eternal autumn. My eyes just about popped out of my head, those descriptions were so amazing.

2. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen: I felt like including Dessen on this list, even though her books are usually summer-y, just because her books remind me so much of being in high school. This was one of my favorite of her books and I’m pretty sure it starts out in the fall.

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: This is one of the spooky ones. I adore this book and it’s such a good Halloween read.

4. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman: This is one of the books that actually takes place in the fall. It’s got forests, fairy tales, boarding schools, lots of stuff that feels autumnal to me.

5. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I’ve already said that schools, especially boarding schools, remind me of the fall, but this book also has a richness that I associate with this season.

6. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: My friends go on a yearly trip to Salem in October and last year, I read some chapters from Good Omens aloud while we drove. It felt appropriate.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Circuses are super autumnal (I’m so sorry I’ve used this word about a hundred times, I have no good alternatives!), but this book also has a richness like I mentioned with A Great and Terrible Beauty.

8. Harry Potter by JK Rowling: So Halloween-y, but moreover, Harry Potter is always about starting school in September! Even in Deathly Hallows when the trio doesn’t go back to school, there are great quotes like “Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

What did you do for your Top Ten Tuesday freebie? And let me know what books remind you of autumn, since I didn’t even make it to ten!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Series I Need to Finish

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Finished Series I Have Yet to Finish. I usually complete a series as soon as humanly possible, so I was only able to scrounge six series that I haven’t finished. I didn’t include any like The Raven Boys or A Court of Thorns and Roses, where I’ve read all the released books but there are still unpublished sequels. Though they aren’t all completed, the series below all have books out that I still haven’t read.
Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 4.26.36 PM1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: I just finished the first book in this series and I’m in love! Thank goodness it’s a complete trilogy so I don’t have to wait for any books to be released.

2. The Fairyland Series by Catherynne M. Valente: This is another book I recently read and loved. I can’t wait to read the next four books in this series.

3. The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas: I’m not as big a fan of this series as I am of the first two on this list, but it’s still entertaining. I’m eager to read the next books, especially now that Queen of Shadows is out.

4. The Abarat series by Clive Barker: This series I’m a little scared to read. I read Abarat years ago and loved it, but there are supposed to be five books in the series. Only three have come out and the last book was released four whole years ago.

5. The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry: I read two of these books in school, though I didn’t read them in the proper order.

6. The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld: I loved Leviathan, but since I read it soon after it came out, the other books hadn’t been released yet. I need to revisit this series.

Are any of these series not worth finishing? Do we have any unfinished series in common? Let me know in the comments!

August 2015 Wrap-Up

Vacation was good for me. It got me out of my blogging slump by forcing me to queue up posts. It also got me out of my reading slump by giving me plenty of time to read. Even with a bunch of flights and an interview at the end of the month (still waiting to hear back, wish me luck!), I still managed to read seven books in August, which is up from my measly five in July.

902 Title: Love Water Memory
Author: Jennie Shortridge
Date finished: August 10, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: Probably not.
Notes: I thought this would be creepy. It was an okay book, but not creepy.

Title: Fangirl
Author:  Rainbow Rowell
Date finished:  August 12, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: Maybe.
Notes: I wanted to like this book because I’m part of the fandom generation, but I didn’t think it really reflected that experience.

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author:  Sarah J. Maas
Date finished:  August 15, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: Probably.
Notes: I’m still not nuts about this series, but it’s enjoyable enough for me to continue with the next book.

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Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author:  Stephanie Oakes
Date finished:  August 18, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Review: I definitely plan on reviewing this!
Notes: Love love love love love. I LOVED this one. I’m forcing all of my friends to read it now.

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author:  Catherynne M. Valente
Date finished:  August 23, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (Five stars)
Review: Also a definite.
Notes: Another love love love book. I’ve already given it to my roommate to read.

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Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Date finished: August 24, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: Maybe.
Notes: It was okay. I liked the concept well enough, but the romance was totally unnecessary and the writing wasn’t great.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date finished: August 30, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆½ (Three and a half stars)
Review: Probably.
Notes: I definitely liked this better than either of the Throne of Glass books I’ve read, but there were still some things that bugged me. It was a little Twilight-y at times. I’m torn between 3 and 4 stars.

Sorry for being super vague about what books I’ll be reviewing. I want to review a lot of them, but I’m super behind. I have books I read in May that I still haven’t reviewed! I might try doing shorter reviews in an attempt to catch up. We’ll see. In the meantime, tell me what books you’ve read this month or what books I should read in September!

Top Ten Tuesday: Children’s Lit 101

This post was supposed to go up early today, as I love this week’s topic. But seeing as today was my first day back after last week’s vacation and yesterday’s interview, I didn’t get a chance to write. So now it’s 11pm and I’m sliding this post in last minute.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about choosing a type of literature class you would want to teach and then choosing books for your syllabus. No lie, I’ve had a dream about this before! I dreamt that I was lecturing on my first day of teaching a YA class and I kept changing the syllabus because there were too many books I wanted to cover. For this post, however, I’ve decided to go with a children’s lit class. I had a vague idea to focus the class on retellings, or even books that seemed to inspire one another, but I didn’t have time to fully develop that idea. A post for another day, perhaps!

  1. Folk & Fairy Tales: An Introductory Anthology by Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  3. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  4. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (If this were truly a class on retellings, I would read this alongside The Jungle Book)
  6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  8. Abarat by Clive Barker
  9. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker
  10. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  11. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My list got a little hairy towards the end. I know I want to read Fairyland alongside something because it was so so good and also definitely inspired by books that came before it. But I can’t figure out what I would read it with. It reminded me in different ways of each of the four books I listed after it.

Did I miss any great ones?

Vacation Reads: Part Two

Today is currently Sunday, August 16th and I’m writing this post from my aunt’s kitchen table. I’ve now been on vacation for 3 days, so I have some updates to my vacation reading list.

In my last post, I mentioned I had requested Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge from the library, but it didn’t come in time. I also said I needed to read Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge, which I had purchased at a local book store a couple of weeks ago. I actually read that before I even left on vacation (maybe even the day after I wrote that post), so obviously I didn’t bring it.

While I managed to eliminate those two, I still managed to bring half a library with me. My mother was dismayed not only that I brought so many books, but also that I dared bring library books. I like to live on the edge.

  1. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  2. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
  3. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  4. Local Girls by Caroline Zancan
  5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  7. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

During my flights on Friday and during the day on Saturday, I powered through Crown of Midnight and managed to finish it last night. Before I went to bed, I started The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. I’m only on page 44, but I’m enjoying it so far.

My friends arrive to Costa Rica tomorrow morning, which is very exciting but also very much a threat to my reading productivity. It would be a miracle if I made it through all seven of my books, but I’m hoping to at least read a good three or four. I’m sure my most productive moments will be on my flights, or early in the morning before every one else wakes up. Thanks to the time difference and the fact that I’m an early riser, I’ve been waking up around 6am every morning.

In any case, one book down!

Vacation Reads: Part One

I’ll be leaving for Costa Rica on Friday, August 14th! I haven’t been back in six years, plus a group of my friends are flying down too, so it’s a doubly exciting trip. My friends will be with me for the last seven days, so I only have three days to squeeze in visits with all of my relatives. I don’t anticipate a ton of reading time on this vacation, but I’ve got four flights during which I want to read.

In preparation, I’ve requested seven books from my library system. I doubt all seven will make it to my local branch before Thursday, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to take at least three or four of them. I tried to go with stuff I’ve been wanting to read, which ended up being all YA. Here’s my requested list:

  1. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
  2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  4. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  6. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Side note: I’ve already spotted other books on my To-Read list that I wish I’d requested, but there’s no sense in adding more.

In addition to these library books, I also have a few books in my apartment that I’ve been meaning to read.

  1. Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
  2. Local Girls by Caroline Zancan
  3. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  4. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  5. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I will likely end up taking some combination of library books and books I own. I’m aiming to take between four and six total, though this will probably be an ambitious number of books considering how busy I’ll be. I’ll be posting updates on my vacation reading list periodically, so stay tuned!