Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations

I’m having trouble describing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, but it is essentially an “If you liked A, you would probably like B” situation. I love this topic, but I had the same idea a few months ago and was thinking about making it a regular series of posts on this blog. So instead of using up all of my recommendations in one go, I’m going to list nine reasons why fans of Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas should read the Lumatere series by Melina Marchetta. You’re all shocked, I’m sure.

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1. The women: How could we start with anything else? Fans love Celaena’s complexity (though I’m not her biggest fan) and the Lumatere books have complicated and fascinating women in spades. There are so many different types of woman, different manifestations of femininity, and great examples of women supporting women.

2. The men: Everyone seems to have their personal favorite ToG man, and I promise you there are plenty of amazing male characters in Lumatere. To provide a little anecdote: my friend was reading the series and texted me “Oh my god, who knew Froi was such a fox?” You will fall in love.

3. The plot twists: Neither series shies away from big reveals. What can I say? I love a good bit of drama.

4. The world: Skuldenore is rich with different countries, languages, cultures, and idiosyncrasies.

5. The characterization: I love when a writer can make me change my mind about a character. It means you’re writing them well. I grew to love several Lumatere characters that I hadn’t originally liked.

6. The relationships: I mentioned this in my Crossover Camaraderie post, but Celaena doesn’t have a great support system (as of the end of Crown of Midnight). I really enjoy seeing people support each other, complement each other, and work together.

7. The writing: I wouldn’t be obsessed with Melina Marchetta if she weren’t an amazing writer.

8. Grijio of Paladozza: Okay, so there’s no ToG equivalent to Grijio, but he’s my favorite minor character. Please read this series even if it’s just so you can meet Grij.

9. POC representation: ToG is sorely lacking in this department, but Lumatere has a pretty good grasp on it.

Anyone who liked Throne of Glass will enjoy the Lumatere Chronicles. They’re both unique approaches to fantasy. The characterization is amazing and there’s something for everyone. Go request it from the library right now. I’ll wait.

Crossover Camaraderie: Part Two

Welcome to the second installment of Crossover Camaraderie, where I find characters from two different books and play matchmaker. Just call me Emma Woodhouse. Or don’t, because she’s a terrible matchmaker. My next set of friends come from two YA fantasy series (and this pair is actually the reason I came up with the idea for Crossover Camaraderie).

Celaena from the Throne of Glass series and Froi from the Lumatere Chronicles.

0914For starters, they’re both assassins. Their situations are a little different, as Celaena is a professional with years of training and experience while Froi is basically in the amateur league. He can fight well, but he didn’t exactly major in Assassin Studies. More importantly, they’re both killers with hearts of gold. In Crown of Midnight, Celaena has more would-be victims than actual kills. In the same vein, Froi heads out to complete a mission and instead forms an emotional attachment to half the kingdom. They have no problem punishing the wicked, but they’re softies.

Furthermore, they’re both intelligent and musically talented. Celaena would definitely try to get Froi to sing along when she plays the pianoforte, even though he wouldn’t oblige. They’re both orphans who were taken under someone’s wing. Froi had much better luck in this area, considering who took in Celaena. But the biggest thing I think they would bond over is their sass. They’re both important figures in their respective stories, but I think it’s safe to say they’re rough around the edges. They’re temperamental, snarky, and irreverent. I’m entirely convinced that they make gross jokes together and poke fun at people.

My favorite thing about this friend pairing is how good they could be for one another. Celaena has a ton of blood on her hands, and I think she could benefit, particularly during Crown of Midnight, from having a friend who is like her in that respect. And Froi knows all about wanting to do good while dealing with your shady past.

Any thoughts on this pairing? Or, if you’ve got a Crossover Camaraderie pairing you’re dying to write about, leave me a link to your post! I would love to read it.

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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I Didn’t Click With

This Top Ten Tuesday (from The Broke and the Bookish) is about characters I didn’t connect with. I’m the type of person who can always find something to criticize (I try to use my powers for good, but it is what it is), so I was born for this TTT. Read on to see my least favorite fictional characters.

9011. Celaena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I’ve talked about this before, but I find her characterization to be really weak. She’s too perfect.

2. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I was hoping this book would be a better representation of what it’s like to be in the Internet/fandom generation, but Cath really annoyed me.

3. Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: I couldn’t stand anyone in this book besides Gat, but I’m taking out my frustrations on Cadence.

4. Blue from The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater: It felt like we were supposed to like Blue because she’s “practical” and quirky, but she just felt really immature.

5. Ronan from The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: I just didn’t connect with this series in general, I guess (Like I could see that I should love Gansey because he’s so my type, but I barely even liked him). But anyways, Ronan has always bugged me. I can’t get over how badly he treats people.

6. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding: This is one of those books where the movie is 100% better. This book was so weird (the ending! So weird!) and Bridget was much less likable.

7. Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: I said this, verbatim, last October: “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that no one likes Catherine Morland.”

8. Nick Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: I know Amy is a complete monster and that Nick is a victim, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for him. I like Amy, because at least she’s a smart and interesting character, but Nick was so mediocre and made such bad decisions. I couldn’t stand him.

9. Quintana of Charyn from the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: I went into the second Lumatere book all excited to meet Quintana’s character because my friend loves her. She wasn’t what I expected. Quite frankly, Quintana scares the bejeezus out of me. I’ve warmed up to her and she becomes an easier character to like about midway through the second book, but she’s still not my favorite. Still scares the bejeezus out of me.

10. Snape from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling: Why did so many people become pro-Snape when they found out he loved Lily? He bullies kids and has been obsessed with the same woman his whole life. He’s the worst.

Did we have any in common? Do I dislike your favorite character? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass, Celaena Sardothien, a renowned assassin, is pulled from her cell after a year of incarceration and given the opportunity to compete for her release. If she can survive a series of tests and fights against other competitors, she will earn a position as the king’s personal assassin and eventually her freedom.

Everybody talks about this series, so I’ve been meaning to get my hands on it for a while. It wasn’t my favorite read (For amazing fantasy YA, please refer to The Lumatere Chronicles), but I like it enough to forge ahead with the rest of the series.

I wasn’t a fan of Celaena’s characterization. I know that real people have a wide range of interests, but Celaena’s interests seemed almost too wide. She is a trained killer, she is an avid reader, she loves fashion, she loves music and she plays the piano? Maybe this would have bothered me less if we had ever encountered anything she wasn’t good at or didn’t love. The Captain of the Guard and the prince both become taken with her, but she didn’t feel human enough for me to believe and understand why they liked her.

I found I liked her more in the beginning of the book. She really feels like a killer in the first chapter as she plots escape routes and plans how she would take out the other people in the room. This stops after a bit, but I thought it felt the most true to what her character should be like. Once she’s in the castle, she softens in a way that’s not believable. I thought she bounced back too quickly, both mentally and emotionally, after being imprisoned for a year.

Of the parts I liked, the magic element was one of my favorites. It added a bit of mystery to the plot. I like that it’s uncharted territory and that (I assume) the rest of this series will likely deal with more people practicing magic and relearning how to control it, etc. This subplot was good for both setting up the rest of the series and adding a less predictable element to a fairly predictable story.

While I feel ambivalent about this first book, I’ve had this series recommended to me by someone whose book tastes I trust. Judging by what I’ve heard, I have a feeling that the characterization of the main three characters gets better as the series goes on. I’m hoping to enjoy the sequels more when I give the subsequent books a shot.

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers
My rating: ☆☆ (3 stars)
Recommended for: anyone who likes Katniss-like characters. Small and ruthless.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters Who Are Also Book Nerds

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted, as always, by The Broke and the Bookish) is about fictional book nerds. I had a surprisingly hard time piecing together a list of fellow bookworms, but I finally managed to make it to ten. Let’s start with the three obvious ones…

1. Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl: So book nerdy that she developed powers. She’s an inspiration to bookworms everywhere.

2. Hermione from Harry Potter by JK Rowling: She read Hogwarts, A History. Her inclusion on this list is a no-brainer.

3. Liesel from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: The last from my Bookish Girls Trifecta (First mentioned in this post). I adore Liesel, who finds such strength in words and knowledge.

4. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: She’s really only on this list because I read this book last month and this list was too Marchetta-heavy, as per usual. While I thought Celaena’s list of hobbies and interests was a little too long (she’s a trained killer and she reads and she loves clothes and she plays the piano), her love of books got her a place on this list.

5. The Queen of Lumatere from The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: I almost put my baby Finnikin on this list, thanks to his Book of Lumatere, but I had to go with the Queen because of her defense of their language. There’s a part where the Queen says the Lumateran exiles will lose their identity if they stop speaking their mother tongue. Anyone who acknowledges the power of words like that deserves to be on a list of book lovers.

6. Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Ah, the most awkward of the Bennet sisters. While she may love to read, Mary’s a bit of a parrot, always more comfortable quoting something than coming up with her own opinion (“Mary wished to say something very sensible, but did not know how”).

7 & 8. The Dashwood Sisters from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: I would argue that they’re both bookish in their own way. I may be projecting when I say that Elinor probably liked to read, but everybody knows about Marianne’s love for romantic poetry.

9 & 10. Lirah of Serker and Gargarin of Abroi from The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: The ultimate bookish couple. They fell in love when he taught her how to read. She recited poetry to seduce him. This is not a drill.

My suggestions for this week were a bit of a stretch at times. I thought this would be such an easy topic! Did I miss any book lovers that should have been on my list? I’m sure there are a couple obvious ones that have slipped my mind.

Top Ten Tuesday: Last ten books that came into my possession

I’ve been quite the slacking blogger lately, but there’s nothing like a Top Ten Tuesday to recommit myself to reading and writing. This week I’m filling you in on the last ten books I managed to get my hands on, including one unexpected acquisition.

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You Deserve a Drink by Mamrie Hart: The only purchase on this list! I bought this book in mid-June. Almost every other book on this list is from the library.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix: Before last month, I had never requested a book from my library network. I finally tried it and went on a bit of a binge. This was the first batch I picked up, along with…

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: Requested it from the library, got it with Horrorstor.

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Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta: My last Marchetta book (maybe I’ll stop talking about her now?) and the next book I had on hold at the library.

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo: Funny story here! I went to pick up Looking for Alibrandi and An Ember in the Ashes, but I didn’t realize until I got home that they accidentally gave me the wrong book. Instead of AEitA, I got this book about a child who goes into a coma and says he meets Jesus. Which is definitely not my type of book. Needless to say, I didn’t read it.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: The day after the library gave me Heaven is For Real, I went back and got the book I actually wanted.

Swerve by Vicki Petterson: I got this book from a Goodreads First Reads. It came in the mail maybe a week or two ago. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m hoping it’s good and creepy.

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I go to a library down the street from my apartment now, but I can’t resist going to my parents’ local library whenever I’m in the suburbs. I happened to see Throne of Glass when I went in a few weeks ago.

Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin: I grabbed this on the same day as Throne of Glass because sometimes I feel weird about being 22 and borrowing YA from the library? I’m a coward and always grab another book to take out at the same time. I’m in the middle of this one and it’s mediocre. And it was due back yesterday.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: I have been waiting for this book for so long and I finally have it! I requested it along with most of the other books on this list and I didn’t get it until weeks after the others. I can’t wait to read this.

And on that note, I’m off to go renew Throne of Glass and Oh! You Pretty Things, as this reminded me that they’re due back tomorrow. Whoops.

June 2015 Wrap-Up

June was a lazy month for me. I didn’t write blog posts (almost everything I posted in June was written in May, whoops). I didn’t read for the first two weeks. I really just vegged for a month, which I’m okay with. Everybody needs down time.

I still managed to read another eight books this month, bringing my total for the year up to 30. My goal for the year was 35, so clearly I need to raise that. Now, at the halfway mark, seems the perfect time to bring my reading goal up to 60 books in 2015. All I have to do is keep up my pace!

Here’s a quick breakdown of my books from this month.
Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 3.01.28 PMTitle: Fragile Things
Author: Neil Gaiman
Date finished: June 2, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: I don’t plan to do a review of this.
Notes: I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, but this was not his best work. I thought Smoke and Mirrors was a much stronger anthology.

Title: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Date finished: June 11, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars for now.)
Review: Also no review planned.
Notes: This book was so frustrating! But in a good way? It was a weird book in that it was about women supporting women (and men ruining everything, to be honest), but it was written by a man. I still can’t really decide how I feel about it, so this rating might change.

Title: You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery
Author: Mamrie Hart
Date finished: May 14, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Review: I do plan on writing a review, just not sure when yet.
Notes: I’ve seen Mamrie Hart on YouTube before and I was really looking forward to this. Just as weird and funny as I expected.


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Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Date finished: June 16, 2015
My rating: ☆☆ (Two stars)
Review: I may write a review on this. Haven’t decided yet.
Notes: This borrowed so much from other books. I wanted so much more from this.

Title: Horrorstor
Author: Grady Hendrix
Date finished: June 19, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: Upcoming review.
Notes: I wanted to love this book, but I didn’t even find it all that scary.

Title: Amor and Psycho: Stories
Author: Carolyn Cooke
Date finished: June 21, 2015
My rating: ☆☆ (Two stars)
Review: No review.
Notes: I hated this anthology almost as much as I hated Lydia Davis’ Can’t and Won’t.
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Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date finished: June 24, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: Upcoming review.
Notes: Are the rest of the books in this series any better? Because everyone raves about this book and it was just okay. Maas let me down with this one.

Title: Looking for Alibrandi
Author: Melina Marchetta
Date finished: June 28, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Review: Upcoming review.
Notes: This is the first time I’ve ever given a Marchetta book less than 5 stars. That said, it was still Marchetta so it was amazing and I loved it. I just loved it less than her other work.

What did you read this month? Was there anything you loved? What books would you tell me to avoid? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

I love Top Ten Tuesday. While I should really be putting more effort into coming up with blog posts on every other day of the week, I love the interactive nature of this meme (do we call this a meme?). I love clicking random links and seeing what other people are reading. I love commenting on the lists I see and adding new books to my “to-read” list on Goodreads.

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish, as always) is Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List. I scoured my “to-read” list to find the 10 books I’m most keen to read. You’ll notice it’s a lot of YA. I love YA, but the library I’ve been going to has the dinkiest little YA section, so I haven’t been reading much of it. I need to start requesting books from other libraries.

TTT1   1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This was on everybody’s list a few weeks ago when the Top Ten Tuesday topic was about film adaptations of books. Clearly it’s something I need to get my hands on. The Goodreads blurb is vague, so all I know about it so far is that it involves lady pilots during WWII. But that’s really all I need to know, to be quite honest.

2. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I love memoirs, especially in the summer. I just finished You Deserve a Drink by Mamrie Hart this week (it’s every bit as weird and hilarious as I expected), so I’m in the mood for another book of essay stories. Plus, I’m honored that this book came out on my birthday.

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I had no idea who Sarah J. Maas was about a month ago, but everybody’s been raving about her books. She resurfaces later in this list, but I want to start with her first series. Plus, I’m intrigued by the female assassin main character. Just give me all of the fierce YA heroines.

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4. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

I’m not big on horror movies, but I have heard good things about this book. I’m a fan of anything with an innovative concept or execution. I’m sure this will scare the pants off me, but I’m too curious to leave it alone.

5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This book has such good buzz and the concept is right up my alley. A retelling of One Thousand and One Nights sounds amazing and I’m fully prepared to love Shahrzad as a character.

6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This book won’t even come out until September but I’m SO PUMPED. The synopsis calls it a medieval fantasy Ocean’s Eleven and it’s hard for me to think of something more beautiful than that description. I love stories about teams with complementing skills. I need this book immediately.

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7 & 8. Looking for Alibrandi & Ferragost by Melina Marchetta

I’m so sorry. I promise I’ll stop writing about Melina Marchetta some day, but today is not that day. I know it’s hard to believe because I’m so obsessed, but I haven’t actually read all of her books. I’ve found Looking for Alibrandi and Ferragost to be elusive, so my goal for the summer is to track them down and read these last two works.

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9. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

From what I can tell, fae/faerie stories are pretty popular, but I haven’t had any experience with them. Hopefully the illustrious Maas will be a good introduction for me.

10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I chose both Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows when jotting down my list and I didn’t realize until this moment that they’re written by the same author. She must be good! This is another book found from  a past Top Ten Tuesday. And that cover is just glorious.

I can’t wait to see what other bloggers are excited about, though my currently 232-book-long list doesn’t need any new additions.