Friday, August 30, 2013

Fall 2013 To Read List

A few days ago I created a "To Read This Fall" list on GoodReads. Almost every book on the list I've checked out and they are sitting next to my favorite chair to read in - ready for me to dive, head first, into all of their worlds, one by one.

Do you want to join me?

Love/Hate The Great Gatsby

I love to read. I know these days I immerse my mind in YA fiction, the paranormal - angels and demons,  and dystopian fiction - but throughout the years I've love many different sorts of books from classics, to children's lit, to non-fiction. In high school I planned on reading every book on a list like "100 Greatest Novels of All Time" and that was my first meeting with Mr. Gatsby, Daisy, and the gang. In college it was recommended by a group of friends and cited as their "favorite novel ever!", recently colleagues were excitedly chatting about it before the movie came out. Three different attempts, three times failed. Gatsby and I aren't destined to be together.

However, tonight I watched the movie. In part because I love watching who Leonardo DiCaprio becomes on the screen, in part because "everyone" had seen it, and in part because the trailers looked so enchanting. And the music! What a brilliant pairing of modern music with the period ... everything else.

There were parts that dragged, twice that I checked to see how much was left, once that I got up to let the dogs out without pausing, but never did I dislike Gatsby himself. Daisy was sweet and charming. Tom was well cast, I feel (he had a delightful Rhett Butler feel to him). Nick, however, Mr. Nick Carraway was the thorn in my side. At first it was, I thought, because Tobey Maguire is not my favorite actor. I just see him as the silly representative that was stuck in a Spiderman costume a couple times. However, it was more than that, Carraway represents what I don't like about The Great Gatsby -- the narrator's voice. Does he love his cousin? Is he in love with his cousin? Why is he so obsessed with Gatsby? Oh, right, is he in love with Gatsby? I feel he is unreliable, untrustworthy, and we know nothing about him.

I want Gatsby to win the girl and live happily ever after, but why does Nick help him? What was in it for him? What were his moral responses? Ugh, if I could sit down and talk to Mr. Fitzgerald I'd give him a piece of my mind. Why choose Carraway? Why not make Carraway more interesting so he as narrator wasn't so painful?

When Gatsby pulls down a book with all Daisy's letters and newspaper clippings in it my heart was stilled. When he tells Nick that she has to tell Tom she's never loved him, those words, that phrase, my heart was broken. When he looked at Daisy over lunch that day -- my heart was stollen away. Do those things happen in the book? Don't know, I never got that far. But watching Jay die because he wanted to protect Daisy (and watching Leo with an unbeating heart in the water ... again), I cried.

Will I go back and read the book? Nope, three tries is my limit. Will I hold Gatsby in my heart. Yes, forever more.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Falling Under

August 29th

Do you ever begin a book and swear you've read it before. Everything you read is totally familiar, but you have no idea what is going to happen next? That is how I feel starting this book! I actually feel a little like Theia, the protagonist, who in her very sheltered like, starts to feel like she is going a little crazy. Not that I would blame her, the book opens on a BurningMan (not the event, an actual man on fire) falling into her front yard. The man on fire stays alive longer than should be possible and things actually get more complicated from there. Theia's father is both uninterested and totally micromanaging her life. There is this boy, Hayden Black, whom I'm pretty sure shouldn't be her love interest. I mean, he kisses other girls and Theia feels it? That's a little suspicious!

The characters might be one dimensional and a little too predictable. Calling the popular kids Skeetches is pretty awesome. I'm pulled into the story because of how familiar it feels, but at the same time I'm not that attached to the characters and I'm already 30% of the way into the story (thank-you GoodReads for figuring that percentage out for me).

August 30th 

Let me just say, if you liked Twilight, you'll like this book. Theia is very Bella-esque, Haden is very Edward-esque. I think the reason the whole book felt familiar was because it was pretty predictable. In fact, nothing in the book surprised me. The only thing that really bothered me is that it didn't feel like it was coming from an British girl's thoughts - it was very American and that didn't fit with what I was told. I could have done without all of the cliched lines and similes as well - but we don't get everything we want. That isn't saying I didn't enjoy it, it was a sweet little treat, a guilty pleasure, that I relished to the end.

Top 10 YA Book Character Crushes

You know when you read a book and you slowly fall in love with a character. Sometimes I love the way they are with the other person (for example, I love the way that Alina loves Mal in Shadow and Bone, but I don't actually love Mal), but other times I really, honestly, feel like I'm giving my heart to someone who isn't really ... alive.

Well, here are my top 10, in no real order

(well, that might not be totally true)

Books tagged are usually the first of the series

1. Jace Wayland - City of Bones
2. The Sturmhond - Siege and Storm
3. Wolf - Scarlet
5. John (the Underlord) -Abandon
6. Jem Carstairs - Clockwork Angel
7. Gale - The Hunger Games
8. Marcus - The Night Circus
9. Fred or George (not too picky, I guess) - Harry Potter
10. Four - Divergent (but only in Divergent, then he gets...idk)

Okay, there are my favorites, what are yours?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

City of Bones Quotes

I like these little quote pictures that are always showing up in my Pinterest feed ... but why are all the quotes taken from the movie?
I made some Mortal Instruments: City of Bones quotes directly from the book :)
Remember to check out my Book to Movie Review and my City of Bones re-read Book Review!!

More after the jump

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

City of Bones: A Book Review

I won't even bother writing dates because I re-read this gem in under 24 hours. Why? It is one of my favorites and I had forgotten until we went and saw the movie. Here is how that broke down: saw the movie on Thursday (opening night), re-read the book on Friday, saw the movie again on Saturday (then I went on to read City of Ashes on Sunday and am nearly finished with City of Glass today).

The Basics

Here we meet a girl named Clary. Clary is strong, independent, with no training on understanding on what is about to happen to her, she survives -- thrives, even! I love that there are these boys around her all of the time, but she never relies on them to come to her rescue. She protects herself in whatever way she can. There are times she is in over her head, but her first thought isn't to run to Jace, it is to protect herself. Clary has thought she was human (or mundane as the case may be) for her whole life, not knowing that there is anything else out there. But when she starts to see what else is going on around her, things that no one else sees, she knows that either she is crazy or there is more to her life than she knew before.

Jace is the first half of what people have labeled a love triangle (there aren't halves of triangles, but go with me here). Honestly, I finished the first book without ever seeing a love triangle. Jace feels like an outsider. His family is gone, he was adopted into another family, and he loves and respects them, but they aren't fulfilling. Jace, with his blonde hair and green eyes, deals with his pain by working hard and pushing everyone away. In a somewhat predictable (but enjoyable none-the-less) way, Clary starts to break down those walls. Not by being endearing and adorable, but by being annoying, dorky, and untalented. He wants to save the world and Clary gives him that opportunity, but she starts to get under his skin. Their relationship is real, like teenagers would behave (although, probably more mature than most 15 year olds in their first relationship).

Simon is the other half. Although, let's be honest, he didn't stand half a chance going up against Jace. Simon is Clary's best friend, that is the only way she sees him. Simon is a nerdy, gamer, musician who has dated and lived a life beyond Clary. Clary is the one whose whole life has been Simon and I love that Cassie Clare didn't make her have unrequited feelings for Simon, because that would have been depressingly predictable. Instead, Clary loves Simon like a brother and Simon is totally in love with Clary. He handles things pretty awesomely after his declaration of love falls on the ears of a girl who doesn't feel the same way.


I'm too close to this story to really tell you anything negative. I can say that if you see the movie before reading the book, giving away the BIG SECRET makes me crazy. It is so much better to read book two without the answers right in front of you. This book is one of my favorite reads because Clary is strong, feisty, and not always perfect. Things fail for her, she lets people down, says the wrong things, and isn't a picture of perfect beauty. However, Clary doesn't expect anyone else to fix these things for her, she figures it out, fights for what she believes in and never gives up. This is also what Jace sees in her - maybe someone so self reliant won't let him down.


Let me vent for a quick moment about Cassie Clare taking us on this rollar coaster ride of emotion that is the City of Bones. Just when you think that Jace and Clary are in a good place, they are trusting each other and, obviously, there is a lot of chemistry. Then, BOOM! They are related. Not just related, not just the semi-shameful, but still acceptable in some places, cousins type of relation. No, Valentine tells them they are siblings. When I read this for the first time my heart dropped out of my body, my blood boiled, I wanted to scream (I may have, at the book, at the author, at myself for trusting that everything would be okay), I threw the book - but quickly scrambled back to get it because, after all, it had to be a mistake, right? City of Bones breaks my heart in more ways than one, but this is the kicker, the made-me-stay-up-until-3:00am to read City of Ashes in hopes that there would be hope. Now City of Ashes holds my favorite scene, but we will get to that in the next review. Because Clary and Jace (and the cast of characters they associate with) hold my attention and my emotions in their imaginary hands, this was a great twist. Can I say that now, yep, I've read all five books at least once, some twice, and for City of Bones this was my third read through the book. Would I want Clare to rewrite that part and just let them be together? No! Clare has a magical pen somewhere because she always makes it worth the wait.

Question for you - would you rather not have the knife stick in deep with the whole sibling debacle? If you could go back and read City of Bones for the first time, would you want it to continue in any other way?

Friday, August 23, 2013

City of Bones: A Book to Movie Review

First, a little conversation

After spending a little time at my blog, you may have noticed I'm a little obsessed with Cassandra Clare. Like with any healthy relationship, sometimes I'm frustrated with her, sometimes I even yell at her from my polka doted chair (luckily she doesn't live anywhere close and can't possibly hear me). None the less, Ms. Clare writes exactly what I want to read (most of the time).

When it was first announced that some wonderful Hollywood type was turning one of my favorite reads into a film, I went through the following stages: Elation! My book is going to be a movie! It will be wonderful!! Sharing! I need to tell the whole world right now. Interest! I must find out everything about this movie. Standoffishness! Oh no, what if they cast someone terrible in this cinematic masterpiece? Fear! It will be terrible, they cannot make a good adaptation of a book. Why did Cassandra agree to let them make a movie? Why are they casting all of those terrible people .... this usually ends with me, deciding not to see the film because it will, obviously, be terrible. I cannot support terrible movies, after all.

Okay, so I saw it ... and I'm smiling as I say this ... it was grand entertainment. However, it wasn't perfect as they followed very little of the original storyline ... but let me elaborate.


What I loved: I loved hearing the words I'm familiar with spoken from real live characters. I loved seeing Simon cast as a nearly normal looking nerd. I love Magnus (just overall, but the actor and the costumes were spot on). Jace and Clary, they might not have been my first choices to play those parts, but together they have chemistry ... heartbreakingly so.

What I didn't love: Kevin Zegers as Alec, looks too old, too big, his has terrible hair - plus I can't think of him as anything but a spoiled drug dealer in Gossip Girl. So many of my favorite parts were gone. The flowers on the roof looked so fake. Where are Clary's mom's paint splattered overalls? As will all books to movies, where is the character development?

A Break Down - Spoilers!

Okay, so from here are spoilers - don't continue if you haven't both read the book and seen the movie. Unless you want it to be spoiled, then totally continue.

1. Where is all the glamour? I love the carriage ride through the city as Clary learns about how the glamour works. Where was it? It would have been such a cool scene.

2. The Pandaemonium club was all a blur and the book reads with more clarity - if I hadn't read the book this would have been a tumble of confusion.

3. Protective Simon? Nope, the movie Simon just seemed to blend into the shadows. How does he expect to win Isabelle's heart doing that?

4. Jemima West is beautiful, but I expected Isabelle to look more made up, even in gear.

5. The movie doesn't let us see/feel/hear Jace's pain, his feeling of being an outcast, his over confidence, his love of Isabelle and Alec (they argue in this movie, just like the book, but the other side isn't shown).

6. Simon is supposed to turn into a RAT! It is the blue juice, he drinks it and nothing ... what a let down.

7. Jace is intelligent, and we don't see that at all. When they go to the church and Jace starts telling Clary all about how services work, where people sit, etc. Where was that? I would have sat through a four hour movie here Hollywood!

8. Hodge is bad. Seriously, a bad guy. A total traitor. Yet, the audience knows he is evil and Jace, Clary, etc. don't seem to take notice of everything.

9. What is with the full ending rewrite? How are they even going to incorporate the first half of the second book?

... I'm sure there are more. I've started re-reading the book. I want to remember everything I missed seeing come to life. The movie falls flat. Although there were parts I enjoyed, straying so far from the storyline into never-neverland, ruining a couple of the characters with poor casting, and just general lack detail. People have read and loved this book, they know all the parts, why can't Hollywood figure it out? They totally should hire fangirls to approve the scripts for these things :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

August 12th 

There is quite a bit of pressure on me to like this book. Mostly because I don't know how I would tell one of my best friends that I didn't like it ... actually, she would read it right here with the rest of you, but still. She has been recommending it to me for at least two years and I just never picked it up. Finding out it was being made into a movie was the final push to get this one read - rules are rules you know!! Being a librarian I like to say, "Have you read the book? It's fantastic!"
Okay, but that doesn't seem like it will be a problem. I'm a mere 35 pages into the story and I'm already fascinated by Ender's plight. Is is because he is a tiny child? Is it because he is a Third (I love how we understand what that means without ever being explicitly told, other dystopian authors should take note)? Is it because he is so concerned that he is going to be like Peter? I don't know; I'm not even sure I care. I'm finished writing - off to make dinner and keep reading!!

August 31st

Dear Ender,

Poor, sweet Ender, I've read your story and it has broken my heart. I had nothing to cling on to for hope! I, like you, couldn't even trust Valentine, I'm still not sure she had your best interests at heart. Dear Ender, poor, sweet Ender - I'm so sorry. 

Sincerely, Lizz the Librarian

Let me just say that this book ended on a fine note, I loved the story, and Ender is a character like no other. But in the end I just felt like there was no hope. It wasn't sad, just hopeless. The only thing I have to say, really, is that Ender is just SO young. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Starting a New Book: Ender's Game

My long wait on the hold list is finally over - Ender's Game has come in!! Glad to start it tonight!!

Won't be long before the movie comes out! I'm nearly ready.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: Siege and Storm

August 5

Curling up with a sequel is like ... well, actually, I don't like sequels. No matter how good the first book was, unless you are starting the sequel the moment you finish the first book, you start out feeling a bit lost. I it is like trying to recall a dream. I know these people, what was their story again? What were the emotions this ended on? Sigh. 

Lucky for me, I blogged about Shadow and Bone, so if you also need a refresher, you can read that (I did, it was helpful). 

Let me walk you through the first chapter. Here is Alina, boarding on feeling sorry for herself and leaving work. There is Mal, looking as delicious as ever (as EVERYONE has noticed), but he only has eyes for one girl. I feel back in step with this novel with only a mere misstep at the beginning. However, in a less than twenty pages the book takes off, the Darkling is back, there will be no happy Alina and Mal chapters. Not only do I already dislike the Darkling, but he is back with new tricks. 

August 5 ... continued

Well, Leigh Bardugo certianly knows how to suck me into a book. I finished the first title in under 24 hours, but I think this one will take longer (I did have to go to work today, after all). Wowza, what a story though!

Oh, and I totally love it when an author responds to my tweets!!

August 6th

Ummmm, you know how Mal is awesome? Maybe this other guy is slowly gaining ground on Mal. I mean, he is pretty awesome and princely and has more emotional depth than Mal (or maybe I just like him more). He is charming and wonderful. 

Other than that guy - the book has taken so many twists and turns that I'm surprised I got any sleep last night. It is wonderful and exciting and I'm going to go keep reading. I'll post the finished review tomorrow! (I can finish as soon as I'm done with this rerun of Gossip Girl!)

August 7th

You know how Blair originally loved Nate, but she actually belonged with Chuck (keep up, I'm on a Gossip Girl kick) -- that is sort of how I feel right now about Alina, Mal, and the Prince. Sigh.

August 9th

Wowza, that is how I feel about this book! That ending, the whole part before the ending, I've said it before, Ms. Bardugo weaves a fantastic tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat and ends with you wanting more. I'm totally pulled in two directions - do I want Alina to end up with Mal? Love triangles (haha, this one is nearly a square) make books go around.

I don't think that I've loved a sequel since Catching Fire and this one was at least as good as the first. Awesome, fabulous, I can't wait for Number 3 in 2014.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Paradise by Joanna Nadin

Joanna Nadin

August 4

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover. But I did. This book is pretty much nothing like what I thought it was going to be. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be like, but it is a teenage angst story about Billy, her mother, and her grandmother, their stories told in alternating chapters. The story is interesting so far and I almost feel sorry for Billy, but is she a little one sided? Is she a little bland? Do I care what happens with the story? I haven't decided yet. 

August 5

This was a short, quick read. It went from being a story about Billie, an unhappy teenager with a classically messed up family, to a web of lies spanning three generations. Nothing is what I expected with this book. I wish that Nadin would have fleshed out the last third of the book a little and focused on how the characters FELT rather than just a recount of the action. However, the book is a great read, quick and poignant.