Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reading Recap July 2014

We had some amazing sunsets this month!

It's been another awesome reading month! Lots of five star books for me. And books that really have a change of being on the top ten of the year. Cool, eh?

Here's what I read:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: In which we not only follow our previous favorite heroine, Cinder, as she escapes from prison, but also meet a new favorite, Scarlet, as she gets Wolf to help her find her missing grandma.

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen: The story about what happened to Captain Hook, why he is hanging out in Neverland, what's his deal with Peter Pan, and how he tries to get out.

Split Second by Kasie West: The continuing story started in Pivot Point where Addie tries to fix the consequences of her choice made in the first book.

Ezra and Hadassah by Heather Young: A memoir about the author's abusive childhood and how she and her brother find happiness in the end.

The Selection by Kiera Cass: The prince needs to find a wife so 35 girls come to the castle for him to court and choose.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor: The second book about the conflict between the angels and the demons and how Karou and Akiva are right in the middle of it.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato: A cute story about two music geeks who get together by writing notes to each other and leaving them in the guitar case in the school's practice room.

Favorites of the bunch: Ah, so hard! Probably Days of Blood and Starlight, and Alias Hook and Split Second. But really, I enjoyed them all so much this month!

Plans for August:

  • Utah Book Month! I will be posting a picture list of books I want to read for this celebration tomorrow. There's a huge bunch! I can't wait to jump in!
  • Maybe re-read The World's Strongest Librarian for book club.
  • Sneak in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
  • Maybe sneak in Attachments which I just bought for my Kindle and won't be able to stay away from.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Speaking Like Our Favorite Books

Have you ever noticed that after you read a certain book, you find the language of that book creeping into your own method of speaking? I've noticed this a lot over the years and some of that language stays with me no matter how long it's been since I've read the book. I find it fascinating.

Some examples:

After reading The Good Earth, I started saying "well and so" all the time, or writing it especially. Have you read this book? Have you noticed how many paragraphs and dialogue bits start with "well and so"? I loved it and it stuck in my head and it's never left!

After reading The Sparrow, I started adding yes after every sentence... well, I mean not every but after many sentences. You may have even noticed this in my writing of blog posts, yes? :) I do it all the time, but I don't remember doing it before that book. There's a character in that book, who sticks a yes after everything he says. Maybe a no sometimes too. It stuck with me!

Remember the "happy-making" and other such "makings" that permeated the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld? I think it drove people all crazy-making after awhile, but it stuck in our speech around here. That one has faded a bit though. But hey, actually, I have proof that my husband was using this term LONG long before the Uglies series! Funny, that. (and where does THAT phrase come from, eh?)

After reading a Victorian era regency type novel I find myself wanting to use terms like... daft and civil and methinks... and "shall we take a turn about the room?" and other such formalities. I love it when this happens and I wish it would stick a bit longer than it does. This one fades after awhile, but always comes back for a moment upon finishing such a book.

I know there's more, many many more, but those are the main examples that come to mind at the moment. What experience have you had were the language or style of a book has crept into your own speaking? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Buying the Books of Certain Authors

A fun prompt over at The Broke and the Bookish today. Which authors do I own the most books of? I hate the wording of that sentence, but I'm not sure how to fix it! Anyway, it was fun to look through my library and count. I'm sure there are some authors that should be on this list that I somehow forgot, but here's what I've come up with for now.

John Grisham: 14 (What? I don't even read or talk about this author!)
Wilkie Collins: 11 (Seriously guys, his books are awesome.)
Laura Ingalls Wilder: 11 (Yes, the whole set makes 11 books!)
Brandon Sanderson: 11 (Wow, I guess he's written a lot I've bought them all... nearly.)
L.M. Montgomery: 11 (The Anne set plus a few stragglers.)
Orson Scott Card: 10 (Books from several different series here.)
Shannon Hale: 10 (I think I've pretty much bought all of hers too.)
James Dashner: 9 (And all of his.)
C.S. Lewis: 9 (Narnia plus a couple other random things.)
J.K. Rowling: 9 (I think I've doubled up on some Harrys!)

Honorable Mention:

Jan Karon: 7 (Remember that At Home in Mitford craze?)
Robert Jordan: 7 (Remember that one time I was going to read all of The Wheel of Time?)
Charles Dickens: 7 (I don't have them all... yet!)
Dan Wells: 6 (I have them all!)

Which authors do you buy the most? You should go count! You'll be shocked like me!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Book: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: Bought at Costco awhile back

Short Synopsis: Continuing where the first book left off (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) we have the two sides made of up chimaera (demon monsters) and seraphim (angels) warring against each other. Of course, we love the heroes on both sides! This is SO not what these characters had in mind according to what we learned in book one! And who's a reader to root for? They are each doing terrible things, and yet they both want to figure out how to make it stop so bad and so this story is about how each one of them is trying in their own way to find peace between the two races. And then, what about their relationship? Longing and hate abound.

My Response: Oh! My! Word! This book! So painful, so wonderful and so so good! I pretty much read it with an ache in my heart the whole time. I  mean, you want Karou to be happy and to make amends for what she "thinks" she's done, and yet, you want her to forget it all and just give it up and go to Akiva! And then there's Akiva who has to at least ACT like he is in alliance with all the angels, but still, he's doing stuff that just makes you want to CHEER right out loud. He is so awesome. This book is told from several points of view which really makes you get into the heart of the story and know what's going on all over the place. The writing is amazing and just, I don't know, how can people write so good!? We all have the same words to use, you know? Just... HOW? And speaking of side characters (which I was in a previous review here on the blog if you are paying attention) how about Suze and Mik? I LOVE these guys! I'm so glad they are part of this story and somehow keep themselves all mixed up in these paranormal happenings.

Be warned though, this book is graphic and violent and bad stuff happens. Like, I'm not sure there's anything happy at all in this particular book.  But...

Bottom Line: I loved it! Really really loved it. I knew it would end with a... NO! feeling so I've already got book three in hand have plans to jump right into it because, dang, I have to know! And Karou and Akiva? If they don't figure things out and you know, get together, I may just have to boycott reading! :)

Let's Talk About: Second books in a series. Sometimes they aren't too great. This one is awesome. BUT, still, it always seems like first books are about getting the characters together and second books are always always about ripping them apart again. Right? Am I right? I hate that. What do you think?

Other Reviews: wonderful bright spot throughout the book is the inclusion of Zuzana and Mik, who bring a very contemporary/human feel to this otherworldly fantasy. I think many other authors would have left Karou’s human friends behind once this story relocated across the portal, but Laini Taylor doesn’t and this dark tale feels fresher and younger for it. From The Readventurer

Taylor has created a complex political situation which pits Karou and Akiva, who we all know are still in love, against each other. From My Books My Life

The world building is amazing and one of my favorite parts of this series. From Reflections of a Bookaholic

The Days of Blood and Starlight is DARK! DARK! DARK! and gruesome. From My Little Pocketbooks

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Currently: Still Alive

(written Sunday morning-ish)

Listening: to David Arkenstone Celtic Journeys by way of Spotify. Love this CD!

Watching: got started watching Hell on Wheels thanks to my crazy TV watching sister! :) Love the conflicts and time period this is set in. And there's Indians and I'm into Indians right now. Also watched the 5th season trailer for The Walking Dead intense! "You screwed with the wrong people!"

Reading: Finally finally finally picked up Days of Blood and Starlight! Such an awesome and crazy story! I bought Dreams of Gods and Monsters so I can go right into that one this week I hope.

But at the end of this week I'll be reading from my pile of Utah author books. You'll hear much more about that coming up! I can't wait to read from that list too. Reading is awesome.

Writing: However, reading awesome books can also discourage a person from writing. Oh my word, but the writing in Days of Blood and Starlight is amazing. How can I ever have thought I could write? There's just no way. But still, I try. I'm editing/revising the Nano book still, about half way there with what I've got now anyway. I need to add so much more. I'm making a list of major things to fix upon a second time through the thing. I look forward to November with another shot at Nanoing and starting a whole new story.

Blogging: I'm struggling here people! What's happening to blogging? It makes me sad! I do have a fun little blogging thing to announce later this week though. Stay tuned.

Eating: We had a most crazy party here last night complete with all sorts of wonderful BBQ food. It was the final hurrah for our week long Japanese student experience. It was a fun and crazy and a little bit strange week. But we're glad we did it. And eating has been interesting and never have I scrutinized our eating habits so much before as I have this week when I'm sharing them with a student who eats so differently from us!

Crafting: Nothing! As is the norm lately. Though I have huge plans to at least do some scrapbooking and picture projects. Wish me luck.

  • Wrote and delivered my grandma's life sketch (eulogy) last weekend. All went well though I'll never heard the end of the fact that I said that my grandma killed a "peasant" and not "pheasant" !! Yeah. I know.
  • Enjoyed getting to know a really cute girl from Japan. Sent her off to her home in Tokyo this very morning. We got up at 4:15 to take her. So tired now. But plan on a relaxing afternoon doing nothing. Here's to that.
  • Had my own Bloggiesta day after the actual event happened! Gearing up for BIG Bloggiesta in September!
  • Our garden is looking so sick. It makes me sad.
  • It's hot, that's why.
  • Still to look forward to this summer: the Epic Relay race (I'll be volunteering at the finish line), a small camping trip, another family reunion day, Utah book month and a party for that, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, and Salt Lake Comic Con!

Well, here's hoping someone reads this post and finds it interesting that I'm still alive... despite the sporadic blogging lately. And the sporadic blog reading that we all seem to be suffering from!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Selection by Keira Cass

Book: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Dystopian-ish
For: Fun
From: Bought for Kindle

Short Synopsis: So there's this prince, and he wants a wife, and so he (and his family) have devised a lottery of sorts where all young women are eligible, despite their class rank, to be part of The Selection. Thirty five girls are chosen from the applicants to come to the castle and take part in the wooing. America, despite her low class rank, is one of them. She is surprised and worried, especially since she is in love with a boy from home. However, when she starts to get to the know the prince, he isn't at all as bad as she expected. In fact, she kinda likes him. Oh dear. What's a girl to do?

My Response: It's a blatant copying of the TV show The Bachelor. But no matter. It's fun and interesting and quite page turning. But yes, there is the beginnings of a love triangle, so be warned should you hate that sort of thing. I enjoyed the alternate universe (country) stuff here, and the class system which seems so crazy to us. I'm intrigued for sure, and want to know how she figures it all out now that things are getting complicated.

Bottom Line: Fun and fluff for the most part, which was perfect for summer reading and given the heavier stuff I've been reading of late.

Let's Talk About: Does it bug you if something is very much a copy of something else? Are you like, oh, cool! I wish I'd thought of that! Or are you like, um, could the author not have disguised that a bit more? I'm not sure where I stand on this. I'll ponder.

Other Reviews:

Just like watching reality tv, I like seeing the cattiness, who is sincere and who puts on a face. If this were a show on tv, I would probably watch. From Cherie Reads

I could not peel my eyes away from the book. There’s bickering and in-fighting and clandestine meetings and lies and secrets and OH MY GOSH WHO COULD WANT MORE? From Anna Reads

But..I feel like there's this bigger story that's waiting to break out in the books (at least I hope so!) about the rebels that attack the castle and the country. From My Friend Amy

The Selection is an incredibly fast read, not requiring much in the way of philosophical thinking or close attention to details, but one cannot discount the fun and entertainment it provides readers. From That's What She Read

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Want With Me on a Deserted Island

Yeah, that's a mouthful! So we always answer the question, what books would we want with us should we happen to be stranded on an deserted island. But today over at The Broke and the Bookish we are thinking what characters. In which case the island would not be too deserted! So these characters would probably be with us on the boat, and they'd be part of the whole sinking scenario and we all survive and are now all on the island together. What a party!

 I'm thinking I'd want:

1. Perry from Under the Never Sky... I think his outdoorsy skills would probably come in very handy, yes?

2. Katniss from The Hunger Games... it's the hunting I'm thinking of here. Plus, she'd probably make a pretty cool friend.

3. Jacob from Twilight... if it gets cold on this island, he's going to keep me warm.

4. Robinson Crusoe... because he's got this gig down!

5. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings... just because I love him.

6. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables... for the cheering up factor and all that positive thinking. I'm okay if she brings Gilbert along too.

7. Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles... because I think he'd be a great protector. And he's awesome.

8. Edmund Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo... he has this island gig thing down too! So, just in case we all want to escape...

9. Shalan from Words of Radiance... because she's a Soulcaster (I think, right?) and that'll be good for us, I promise.

10. Ron from Harry Potter... more magical goodness (even though he might not get it right) but mostly for the funny factor!

Who would you pick to be stranded with?  Link up your list over at the Broke and the Bookish!

(I picked a lot of redheads! I wonder what's up with that!)


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