Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review: Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Book: Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Genre: YA SF
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Review (and Supporting Local Authors!)
From: NetGalley (release date March 4, 2014)

If Shannon Hale wrote it, I'll read it. But I must say, I've come to expect a certain kind of story from her and this was so completely different that I was blown away. It's YA (I would guess most of her fairy tale stories are considered MG?) and it's science fiction. Like REAL SCIENCE-Y science fiction! Would you be surprised by that? I was surprised.

And I loved it. It starts off fast and stays fast through the whole book and just when you think it's over, then a whole new issue must be solved.

So we have our heroine, Maisie, who was born with one arm. She doesn't let that stop her, but her parents have protected her throughout her life especially by having her home schooled. She wants to see more of the world and is especially interested in being an astronaut, so one day she applies to a space camp contest and wins! And then when she goes there she excels and wins some more. She also meets a guy and there's romance. Or is there? She is so confused.

Well, so the prize for being the winning team is a ride on this awesome space elevator that takes you up to some asteroid. But what happens there is crazy beans! And then her whole life is changed, and now she must save the world!

Such a fun story, interesting romance, quirky characters, awesome heroine and fast-paced writing. It was a little bit Aliens meets X-men meets World War Z meets... oh, I don't know what else, but I'm sure there was something!

Bottom line: I loved it. So much fun! Go read it now!

Other Reviews: 

Dangerous by Shannon Hale is bursting with mystery, betrayal, love, and tragedy. It’s a great novel for science fiction lovers and fans of other space themed novels. From Dark Faerie Tales

Yeah, so if yer lookin’ for “cute” and “fluffy” and “tender”, keep walking. From Colorimetry

There were some pretty fun action scenes and I loved that at the beginning Maisie was disabled yet completely capable of taking care of herself. From My Friends Are Fiction

Dangerous is twisty and high on action, and I think it will appeal to a wide variety of girl and boy readers (perhaps younger YA), including reluctant readers. From Love is Not a Triangle

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Cowboys and Indians

Today's Broke and Bookish Top Ten prompt is to do a repeat of something we've done before. I'm not sure which previous prompt I've picked but I'm sure it falls into some category or another, right? Perhaps "Books About X"? Because since the subject of cowboy and Indians has been much on my mind lately, I thought I'd list some of my favorite books with that as its theme.

Top Ten Books About Cowboys and Indians

1. Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake
2. Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo
3. Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
4. These is my Words by Nancy Turner
5. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
6. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
7. From Sea to Shining Sea by James Alexander Thom
8. One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
9. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
10. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

And really, that's just a start. What book do you think should be on this list? What's an awesome tale of cowboys and Indians that I totally need to read?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Book: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Genre: YA Fantasy
For: Review and supporting local authors
From: NetGalley

I've loved this series. Definitely one of my favorite recent fantasy series. I'm sad to see it go. I will miss this character, a wonderful, mischievous, clever and loyal thief/prince.

Most of the story in this the third and final book is about the war between the neighboring kingdoms. As is usual when reading these fantasy books, I most of the politics behind the wars goes right over my head. All I know is which kingdom I'm rooting for and who are the bad guys. Sometimes I should probably pay more attention.

Anyway, so this one starts out with a bang and then something pretty bad happens. Something bad enough that I wondered if I could even finish the book.  So, for the me the middle dragged a bit, partly because of the political stuff and partly because of that bad thing. But then, things picked up again and I loved the end. LOVED! It reminded me of Robin Hood episodes where you think there is NO WAY they will get out of things and no way will all be made right and then little do we know, but things have been being planned off screen and all is not as it seems. It's awesome.

The things these characters go though are just, I don't know... ruthless. This kid has been put through pretty much everything and yet he STILL has that swaggering confident attitude. It is one of the best things about him and why I love him, and these books, so much. Maybe sometime down the road we can have more with him? I hope so.

Bottom line: Great series, awesome end to the bunch. Read them. They border on middle grade, so even great for younger kids... though be warned all the bad things that happen to the characters. There is some stuff!

Other Reviews:

In addition to plenty of action (much of it centered around battles and escapes), The Shadow Throne includes a bit of romance, an appreciation for friendship, and aspects of a coming-of-age novel. From Jen Robinson's Book Page

Nielsen makes sure to include the action and the witty lines her readers have come to love, all sprinkled with a bit of commentary on what it means to love and what it means to be a king. From Pages Unbound

But there's still enough of the charming boy-thief, with his layered plans, his reckless courage, and his unreliable narration to satisfy Jaron's many admirers. From The Bookwyrm's Hoard

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Club Voting List for 2014-15

It's already time for us to figure out what books we'll be reading next year for book club! For the past few years, I've had fun sharing with you all our list of candidates and get your input!

So, here's the very eclectic list we've come up with, complete with some verse books, some plays and some graphic novels! It will be interesting to see if they get voted in.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones would you strongly suggest we push through? Which ones would you caution us against? Let us know your experience with any of them!

Literary/Historical Fiction

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Books in Verse

May B by Caroline Starr Rose
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Non Fiction

The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Classics-ish and Etc.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Dune by Frank Herbert
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Graphic Books

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman


The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Report on LTUE 2014

I discovered this fun fantasy and science fiction writing conference about the same time that I discovered blogging, so this was my sixth year attending. But this was the first year I went with the idea that I might actually be there for the writing pep talks. It made me look at it in a whole new way. Sometimes it made me all fired up to try and sometimes it made me think there is no way I can ever do this.

Anyway, I went to lots and lots of classes including:

  • the writer's work space
  • write what you don't know
  • editing
  • writing natural dialogue
  • writing children
  • narrative drive
  • motives for writing for youth
  • making old ideas new
  • writing, literacy and culture
  • scene or summary
  • writing the first pages
  • writing romance
  • drawing upon folklore
  • characters that live and breathe
  • writing action
  • writing groups
  • character development
  • write like your brain works
  • Orson Scott Card's keynote speech which I pretty much didn't understand
  • writing without an outline
  • who influenced me?
  • lovable bad boys
See how fun those sound? A few of them stood out and after attending so many classes, the main things I came away with were:
  • keep a notebook with you at all times, write down the amazing moments of the day
  • decide... how much do I want this? Does writing MATTER to me?
  • Know what you write, write what you love.
  • Live life and you WILL know stuff to write about.
  • Don't have to travel to learn stuff, we have the INTERNET! :)
  • Shut off the inner editor for the first draft. 
  • Make editing and writing different processes.
  • Write visually, be different and be inventive.
  • interview your characters
  • read dialogue out loud
  • don't underestimate young readers, they are smarter than you think
  • the key to narrative drive is: conflict, goals and high stakes complete with plot turns and pinches.
  • make characters believable by giving them motives, history, growth, etc.
  • the older the reader, the more complex you can make your character's motives
  • you must convince the reader of your character's motives
  • there's no such thing as a new idea. There are remakes, re-tellings, adaptations and stories using well known elements
  • a scene is showing, a summary is telling. Telling steals the power of the experience from your reader.
  • only use a summary if you really need it for a transition. And it can be short. Let the characters do the summary.
  • first pages establish a contract with the reader, pull them in by having conflict and making them care
  • don't info dump
  • give your characters flaws
  • if you plan to write action scenes, the readers MUST be invested first
  • if there's a bomb under the table, show your readers and create suspense. Show the knife in the first act!
  • have other people in peril, make sure there's something at stake
  • action is not necessarily violence
  • DO torture your characters
  • heroes are only as good as their villains
  • go to a graveyard to find good names!
  • "As you know, Bob..." is BAD!
  • Enter a scene late and leave it early.
  • Tags: said so and so. Beats: describing body language.
  • If you write without an outline, go back and list what happened in that chapter after the fact.
  • Discovery writing is NOT a short cut. You will end up revising a ton more.
  • Know your characters well before you write without an outline.
  • Pantsers are character driven writers... Outliners are usually plot driven writers. 
  • You can't edit a blank page!!!
  • It's okay if it's BAD!!
  • Get to the end before you re-write!
  • Make stuff up and then research later.
  • Three types of bad boys: Raw (cliched bad boy and they change to sweet to fast), Soft Boiled (if you dig you can find the good in them) and Hard Boiled (the truly bad guys, the villains)
  • Don't use bad boy cliches: leather jackets, loner, reckless, abusive, smooth talking, hot looking, etc.
  • Make readers care about bad boys by giving them objectives and motivations.
  • Have them (the bad boys and other characters too) SAVE THE CAT!
Oh my word, that ended up longer than I expected! But good stuff, eh? It makes me want to get down and busy with my characters and fix them and make them cool and believable and likable and bad but in a good way, and good in a real way, and smart and awesome and quirky and flawed. I have no idea how, but as they say, if I want to I should practice. 

Anyway, and then there was a mass signing (80 authors) and I bought books and got most of them signed:

And now I'm dying to read them all.
And I'm dying to write stuff.
But first, I have other books to read and review and then weddings to plan!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Review: Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Book: Perfect Lies by Kiersten White
Genre: YA Supernatural
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
For: Review
From: Edelweiss

This is the second book that continues the story beginning in Mind Games. I wanted to like it so much more! I really enjoyed the first book, but this book confused me like crazy.

So here's what happened, I think. Our two sister characters are separated and in different places and experiencing different things, especially Annie who sees the future with her visions. She can tell something is going to go down soon, and it's not good for Fia. So her whole purpose is to stop whatever is going to happen. Meanwhile Fia's whole purpose is to kill the big bad mean dude who started this terrible school for special girls (which we learn all about in the first book) in the first place. It just so happens that the bad dude is the dad of her boyfriend. Now while he appears to be on board in this endeavor to stop his dad, can he really be trusted? Hmmmm....

I went away from this book loving Annie's story the best. She has a pretty sweet love interest going on for herself and she is just much more interesting this go around. So I enjoyed it when we flipped to her point of view. But I just didn't get Fia's story.

Yes, there was lots of flipping back and forth between Fia and Annie, and usually I'm okay with that, but it was really confusing this time because I couldn't figure out what was going on with the timeline. And there were many characters that I just didn't know who they were and I couldn't remember if I was supposed from the first book. Most of the time when I read a sequel I can pretty quickly get back on board and remember things. That really didn't happen for me this time, sadly.

That being said, I still enjoyed the tone and the whole psychotic-ness of this one! These girls really are crazy!

Bottom line: Despite the confusion, it was fun to read.

Other Reviews:

Readers need to pay close attention because the story flows quickly, the answers are fast and furious, and there is no respite for the inattentive. From That's What She Read

Annie's character development is astonishing, and she's definitely not helpless anymore. She's tough and determined, and it was great to see that fire in her. From City of Books

Instead, this book is completely useless without the first. It's the second half of the first. From Amusing Reviews

The story is fast paced, filled with action, and the countdown only adds another layer of anticipation and suspense throughout the story. From Book Nerd Reviews

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Read and Blog

Today the lovely bloggers from The Broke and the Bookish are asking: Why do you like to read and/or blog? This is a question I've answered many many times here and there and every where. So I thought I'd make my answers this time very short and simple. 

Five Reasons I Like to Blog:


Five Reasons I Like to Read


Why do you like to read and blog? 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Book: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Book Club
From: A Christmas gift a year or so ago

I've been looking forward to this book for a long time. So happy to have finally read it! Good old book club for making it happen!

This is an epic saga type book. We travel in back and forth in time and back and forth in view points between three different generations of this family. There's one story in 1900 or so. One in the 70s and one in current 2005 time. Back in about 1913, a strange incident occurred, a young girl was abandoned on a boat going from England to Australia. The whole focus of this big book is to find out what exactly happened and why.

It's a wonderful tale where we get a glimpse of life at a huge manor house in England, complete with a maze and a mysterious cottage, all ruled over by a witchy mistress and her crippled and sort of sadistic husband. We get a glimpse of life in the middle of Jack the Ripper London. And we come back to visit those places later on the future and see them all again through the eyes of later family members as they try to solve the mystery.

I loved it. The going back and forth didn't bother me at all once the people and setting were well established. I was trying to think if there was a certain character whose story and/or point of view I enjoyed the most, but they were all fun. Of course, I had fun with the little tiny romance that started to happen with our present time girl. That was sweet.

I also thought it interesting that Frances Hodgson Burnett made a cameo and was fascinated with the garden locked behind a wall with no door! Hmmmmm... great story idea, eh, Frances?

Bottom line: I totally loved it. A really great, deeply layered story

Other Reviews:

The historical details and the crazy family secrets drew me in more than the other stories. I also really enjoyed the fairy tale aspect - several stories weaving in and out. From One Librarian's Book Reviews

The quiet, intricate way the story carries along revealing little by little the mystery it holds was done very well indeed. It kept me guessing, that's for sure. From Alternate Readality

Morton balances this gothic, obsessive side of love with the lighter theme that certain people make us whole and bring us “home”, wherever that may be. From The Literate Mother

Like her previous novels, it's not only the time period and location that sucks me in, but how she writes her characters. This one was no exception. It's amazing to see how secrets change lives. From A Library of My Own

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Currently: LTUE and Literary Love Week

(as written on Saturday evening)

Listening: a Pandora station as usual. Can you tell that I rely on this little device for my music A LOT? Right now it's the Imagine Dragons station. Awesome music pops up with that one.

Watching: Getting into the latest American Idol. Enjoying Harry a lot. We missed it this week and I hope to watch both episodes later this evening and just chill. I hope.

Reading: Finished The Forgotten Garden for book club which is coming up this week. I also started Perfect Lies (sequel to Mind Games) which comes out this week.

I have a bunch of books I need to read for review from NetGalley. They all came up at once. Plus I bought a ton at the conference this weekend.

Writing: So as you might already know if you follow me on Twitter, I've been going to a writing conference these past three days called LTUE. (I felt like I tweeted a lot about it this year. Maybe you enjoyed that? Maybe not.) It's the sixth year I've been there! But the first year that I've gone considering myself a "writer" since I finished a thing for Nano. So I looked at it all so differently this time around. Very fun. I'm sure a summary post of the experience will be coming up sometime this week.

Writing is going to be a much more frustrating endeavor than I ever imagined. I will need lots of "you can do its". I really want to do this thing, but I'm afraid the hardness of it might win over in the end. We'll see. But I do know that going to this conference helps. I'm very anxious to get back to my story and make my characters so awesome that the readers can't help but love them! Yeah. I'll try anyway.

Blogging: It's been a fun week of blogging! I did lots of Literary Love posts. If you missed them here's the list:

And then on Friday I was quoted over at Love at First Book (as a "famous" person no less) about why I love books and reading. You should go check it out and see what other famous people were also quoted! (Most of them had a MUCH better and MUCH more cool quote than I did. Seriously. It's kinda... funny. A lot funny I'd say!)

Eating: I made Cafe Rio pork this week, but forgot to put in the Coke. Yeah, that's a pretty key ingredient and it didn't NOT taste right, or like Cafe Rio's stuff, at all. Anyway, it was still good I guess. The last few days while at the conference, I've just survived by snacking. It worked. I'm still alive.

Crafting: I haven't done any crafting wedding stuff this week, but I have printed address labels, stuffed envelopes and mailed off invitations! Woot!

  • I haven't been sleeping much. I'm wondering if I can just take that out of my life altogether. Ha. If only.
  • It's a long weekend. Maybe I can do some sleeping. But dress shopping is also in the plans.
  • I also went to a critiquing class this week. Wow, the writing thing pretty much took over this past week.
  • It's still Letter Month and I've sent out a few things. Not one every day though. Unless you count the wedding invites and then you could say I've KILLED Letter Month! :) I've received a couple of things too. Thanks to my letter writing peeps!
  • Remember my swoony post of last week. Wow, that went "viral" throughout my family and IRL friends! I'm telling you, the people in that area of my life rarely read my blog and all week long I had "hey, I read your swoony post!" Even my husband. I think he even liked it... maybe. Funny though, don't you think? Well, I thought so anyway.
So, what's been up with you all this past week? I'm sure I've missed a lot. It's been a bit crazy around here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Literary Love: Book Clubs!

I love my book club! It's nearly ten years old now and has just gotten better and better with age. Some book clubs are more about the socializing and less about the books, but this book club LOVES to talk about books. And I love that they love it. We have such a fun time discussing books every month that sometimes it's hard to stop. We could go on all night!

If you want to know what we've read over the years, here's the link.

If you want to know what I feel are the key components to a successful book club, click here.

If you are in the neighborhood and want to join us, send me an email! :)

I'll do a longer more detailed book club celebration post when our anniversary hits in May. I hope. Until then, here's a simple shout out to how awesome book clubs are!

Let me know in comments about how awesome your book club is! Or if you have any questions about getting one started.

Don't forget to link up your Literary Love post here!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Literary Love: Author Signings!

One of my favorite bookish things is author events and signings. This is something I've often wondered would I be doing if I hadn't started blogging. I really don't think so. And now I can't imagine my life without these bookish events to look forward to. They are so much fun!

I still get so nervous for them though. Meeting authors is scary for shy people! I never know what to say, even now after doing it so many times. But I've come a long way since writing this post nearly four years ago. Wow, has it been that long? But this is a post I've shared many times as it's one of my favorites. You know the one where I vent about what to say to authors at signings. And I even mention a certain author that I could not have imagined meeting and then it happened. And I didn't faint or anything. Almost, but not quite.

Now a days sometimes, if I'm lucky, all I have to say is "Hi, I'm Suey." And then they might say "Oh, Suey from Twitter?" Or "Yes, I've heard of you!" Or even, "Yes, I've read your blog." Of course, I love it when that happens. Definitely not what was happening four years ago! What a most awesome blogging validation, yes?

What I love about author signings:

  • meeting the authors of course. It's fun to see their personalities. Sometimes they are just as nervous as me. Sometimes they are so witty and funny I'm blown away. Sometimes they have a spiel to give and sometimes they just wing it but always, it's interesting to see what they are like.
  • getting books signed. I guess this sort of devalues a book in theory, but for me, having a huge collection of signed books is quite cool. I should count them sometime. There's a lot!
  • hanging with bookish friends. I rarely go to these things alone. Much of the fun is the gathering together of like minded crazy fanatic people. It's awesome.
  • new books! Most of the time the event is surrounding the release of a new book that I've been dying to get my hands on! This is in and of itself exciting enough!

Some (just some) of my favorite authors I've met are: 
  • Markus Zusak of course. It goes without saying. (And can I just say, please let him come again. I want to hear him say, so so bad, "Oh, yeah Suey! I know you!" I really truly might faint this time if that happened.)
  • Jamie Ford, most recently.
  • Maggie Steifvater
  • Megan Whalen Turner
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Dan Wells
  • Stephenie Meyer
  • Richard Peck
  • Lois Lowry
  • Jonathan Mayberry
  • Veronica Roth
  • Julie Berry
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Ally Condie
  • Shannon Hale
  • Christopher Paolini
  • Haven Kimmel
  • (And if I wasn't feeling lazy and tired I'd go find pictures and links for them all!)
We are very lucky to have so many events around here. And every year it just gets better and better. The next event is coming up this Friday. It's the mass author signing in conjunction with the LTUE conference that I go to every year. There'll be tons of local authors there and many from out of state too. I'm sure I'll be telling you all about it!

What do you love about books today? Link up your Literary Love post here!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Swoon

What? The Broke and Bookish topic today is swooning? Have I not talked about this enough already? Ha! I guess not. And in case you missed it and would like to see my swoony guest post from last week, I might as well milk it a bit more and give you the link yet again... check it out over at Book Bloggers International where I discuss swooning in depth!

But today, I'll list some of my favorite swoony books. Hmmmm, how to narrow it down.

Top Ten Favorite Swoony Books
(Wait, I must say that sometimes I get the books and movies mixed up. Is it the BOOK that's swoony or the movie? Or both? Take that into consideration!)

1. North and South. While Richard Armitage and the pulling off of that last scene is incredible, I still maintain that the book itself is also swoony. "Look back! Look back at me!" Poor Mr. Thornton.

2. Through the Ever Night has one of my favorite swoony kissing scenes ever. The build up was perfect.

3. The Legend series. Day is just an around wonderful swoony character. I'm not sure what it is... he has that swagger I talked about in my post last week, and also that kindness and gentlemanliness. Truly, he has it all.

4. Unravel Me has some very swoony moments. And we aren't supposed to be enjoying them, because Warner is the bad guy. Right? He is, isn't he?

5. Both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door have swoony boys. The first one an exotic British dude, and the other an ordinary yet perfect boy next door. I swoon for them both.

6. The Sky is Everywhere. It's been awhile since I read this one, but I wrote a character connection post awhile back where I listed all the wonderful swoony bits about it/him.

7. Blackmore by Julianne Donaldson...there's this leaf fight and then a moment afterwards. Swoon. Also, not to metion all the propoals this book has, fake for one, real for the other. Swoon.

8. There's a very swoony horse riding scene in The Scorpio Races that I just died over.

9. There are parts all over in The Queen of Atolia that could make a person swoon. The intensity of that relationship is just... I can't even... just...CRAZY.

10. "In vain I have struggled, it will not do." Yep. That.

What are your favorite books with SWOON? I can't wait to hear! Link up over at The Broke and the Bookish! Also, don't forget to link up your Literary Love posts here!

(P.S. I really wish my computer would recognize swoony as a word.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Literary Love: Vulnerable Villains

One of my favorite bookish loves is what I'm calling vulnerable villains. These are the bad guys that you love to hate, or hate to love. The villains that are so gray (as I've written about before) that you aren't even totally sure they ARE the bad guys. Or maybe they are actually good guys who've had something bad happen to them. Or maybe they would have been good guys but then, they chose poorly. Or, maybe they are characters that we think are the bad guys at first, but then they turn out to be the good after all.

Yes, I truly love these guys. I feel for them, I want to make them better, I want to see them fixed, I want to give them the love I feel that they deserve despite whatever bad flaw they have going on that makes them end up in the villain camp. And sometimes it makes me cringe to want to love them, because sometimes they are so very bad.

But that's just how it is sometimes.

What do you think makes a villain a vulnerable villain? Here's what I think:

  • a back story that makes you sympathetic to them
  • a moment where you know deep down they actually want to do good
  • a vulnerability that they show which causes you to feel all they need is love
  • a charisma that slays you whether you want to be or not
  • an ache that they wear on their sleeve
I love these sorts of characters so much and I love it when authors are able to pull this off. Some of the favorites that I listed in that other post from a long time ago are Heathcliff, Javert, Frankenstein's monster. Some newer favorites include: 

Warner from the Shatter Me series. Oh. My. Word. I want to read and I'm scared to read the latest and last book, Ignite Me, so bad! And I hear that I simply HAVE to read the in between novelette, Destroy Me, if I really want to understand him. That's going to happen soon, I promise.

Loki, though not from a book exactly, is a perfectly example of all I've listed above... every single point! Has there ever been a better villain?

Valek from Poison Study, though not really the villain, is definitely someone you think is the bad guy at the beginning but then you mind is changed in a big big way!

Cole from the Everneath series. Ah, charisma. He's got it. You kind of forget you are supposed to be rooting against him.

Evan Walker from The 5th Wave. Yes! Is he the good guy or the bad guy? I love the grayness here!

Snape from the Harry Potter series. (And he's not a newer favorite, but an old one. I just didn't list him before!) Now, of course he's not the villain like Voldemort is, but, he is portrayed as the bad guy. Am I right? And then.. and then... AND THEN!

Yep, I love my villains! 

Who are some of your favorites?

To participate in the Literary Love event, link up here!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

Book: Champion by Marie Lu
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★★
For: Fun
From: Borrowed

Well, I ripped through that series I'd say. What a fun, awesome dystopian tale. In this, the third and final book of the trilogy, Day and June have become revered leaders and celebrities for their country. There's a full on war with the Colonies and they need help from the powerhouses around the world like Africa and especially Antarctica.

The trip we take in this book to Antarctica was fascinating! I'm wondering if Marie Lu has another book planned that will be set there. That would really be awesome.

Anyway, Day is fighting his own battle with failing health, which was painful to endure as readers. But that does not stop him from helping out where needed and get back to his old tricks. His brother Eden also figures prominently in the book as his blood is needed to stop the ever present virus.

The ending is crazy and twisty and makes readers have patience! And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Bottom line: An awesome and exciting story with some characters who have been added to my list of all time favorites.

Other Reviews:

Marie Lu did a wonderful job with this entire series, and ended it in a bittersweet note. From Bloody Bookaholic

And, if you haven't begun the Legend series, and you are at all interested in dystopians, this is one of the BEST series out there. From Annette's Book Spot

I loved the fact that Champion let many major characters have chances to shine -- to be brave, to be noble, to be selfless, to take risks. From YA Romantics

An action filled, taut ending to an incredible series, this book also has plenty of heart, romance and wisdom. From Waking Brain Cells

This is a series I'm going to want to re-read over and over again! I highly recommend that everyone read this!! From Kami's Library Thoughts

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Beatles: A Music Post

I've been feeling the need to write a little music post and today must be the day because this morning on the radio they were talking about how this very day is the 50th anniversary of when the Beatles arrived in America for the very first time. Remember that?

Yeah, me either, but I've seen the video.

Wow, look how cute they are? Do you blame the screaming girls? I get it. I do!

 And so now I wanted to talk about the Beatles!

I've loved them since I can remember, and I'm not sure when or how I first heard them. I think my parents had only one album and it was a terrible one. I bet they won it from somewhere because it was a live album from a concert they did at a stadium and all you could hear, literally, was screaming girls. As a kid, I was fascinated by that and thought, wow, people LOVED these guys!

 But somehow, despite that terrible record, I learned about their songs and learned to love them. Much much later, when our own kids were little, we took them to one of those pretend-to-be The Beatles concerts (I don't remember the group name.. Yesterday or 1964 probably) and my kids totally fell in love. Both my boys mark that moment as the day they became fascinated with music in general and it's never been the same since around this house.

A few summers ago we were lucky enough to see Paul McCartney in concert. I searched and I don't think I talked about that experience here. What was I thinking? Anyway, we got last minute tickets and had terrible seats but still, the energy and the pulse of that concert was unlike anything else. And to know and sing every single song with him was such a blast. I'm so glad we ended up going.

This is very close to the view I had. On floor WAY in the back.

 I've never been able to pinpoint my favorite Beatles song. Can you do it? Sometimes it's Help:

 And sometimes it's Yesterday:


 And sometimes it's A Day in the Life, from their later years:


 But there's so many more!

 This past summer when we were in England, we made the pilgrimage to Abbey Road. It was awesome. My oldest son felt nearly moved to tears by the experience!

  What's your favorite Beatles song? And do you have a Beatles story?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Bloggers International Presents: Suey on Swooning

All I really want for you to do today is to click this link and head on over to my guest post over at Book Bloggers International. There you will find a silly and hopefully fun post all about my swooony thoughts

You'll find my definition of The Swoon, and lots of examples and reasons that cause this malady. And there are pictures, of course, including Richard Armitage. 

So once you click and read, talk to me and make comments over there. Please? I'd love you forever if you do!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Sad Books

Today we're talking about books that make you cry. For me, that's a lot of them, but the problem is, I can't remember which ones! Except for the obvious ones! So anyway, here's what I came up with:

1. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
3. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
5. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
9, If I Stay by Gayle Forman
10. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Yep, I predict these books will break your heart! Read them!

What books broke your heart that should be on my list? Link up at The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Book: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA Dsytopian
Rating: ★★★☆☆
For: Fun
From: ebook from library

While it's been an interesting series, it hasn't been my favorite of all, so it's taken me awhile to finally get to this, the last book. But wow, everyone sure talked about it when it came out and so I was curious to find out for myself what exactly happened.

This book sees our heroes, Tris and Four, venturing out of the boundary of their city, a future Chicago, to see what the world behind looked like. They discover a group operating in what used to be the airport in olden days, and they end up staying with them and joining their cause. It's here that they learn all kinds of crazy things about an "experiment" and how the factions came to be and a bunch of stuff about good and bad DNA. The more they learn, the more they begin to wonder what's really going on here. It gets very tricky to know who are the good guys and who are the bad.

Once they finally decide who's side they are one, they make a big move. And things do not go as planned, to say the least. And that's all I'm going to say about that!

But the book does have an ending, one that I can deal with, one that has closure and all. The series was exciting and crazy and sad and yes even swoony in parts, but still, not my favorite dsyopian tale. However, I must say that after seeing the trailer for Divergent, I'm quite excited about the movies.

Bottom line: A fitting ending to a crazy fun series.

Other Reviews: 

Was it my favorite? No. Insurgent definitely holds that space, but I did like it. From Book Twirps

The action was nonstop and exciting. From Beth Fish Reads

I would define it as the weakest of the series, but I will continue to recommend this trilogy to all of my reader friends. From Good Books and Good Wine

And then there is the narrator alternation. I don’t mind this at all, as long as one can see a distinction between the characters. In this book, with the strange morphing of their personas, I kept having to turn back to the chapter beginning to figure out who was talking, Tris or Tobias. From Rhapsody in Books

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Currently: Everything is Gonna Be Okay


Listening: The Canadian Tenors. I haven't talked about them for awhile, but yep. They are still among my favorites. Love. Perfect for a Sunday morning actually.

Watching: Sherlock and Downton Abbey tonight! All this talk about a football game? Pshaw. I'll be watching other things and/or reading and/or writing. Maybe, just maybe, I'll check out the halftime or a commercial. Because those things are much more down my alley!

Reading: Just started The Forgotten Garden for book club. I can tell already I'm going to love it. It has SAGA written all over it, and I'm sucker for sagas.

Writing: We had a little Twitter write along this week with our newly formed writing group. That was fun. Hopefully my followers weren't too bugged seeing it in their feed. We might figure out how to do a hangout next time. But anyway, I wrote almost all of the new chapter two. I feel like I pretty much need to change everything from what I wrote for Nano. It's not really revising. It's starting over. Is this normal?

Also writing letters this month, as I mentioned the other day!

Blogging: Yep, still doing it! Still having trouble finding commenting time though. Bloggiesta was successful. Looking forward to "the big one" in March. I'll be looking for mini challenge hosts for that sooner than later, so stay tuned! This month, next week to be exact, I'll be trying to participate in Love at First Book's Literally Love Week and posting lots of love posts about bookish loves. 

Also, this Wednesday my post on swooning will be up over at Book Bloggers International. I must finish that today then I guess, eh? But be sure to check it out because... because... you'll get a kick out if it I think!

Eating: I skipped dinner several days this week because of late lunches and too busy evenings. I'm thinking that's okay. Better than skipping breakfast, yes? And one dinner I even made and then no one ate it. Love it when that happens. But eating? It's overrated.

Crafting aka Wedding Planning: I need to make a ring pillow and flower girl baskets out of burlap for wedding number 1. I should have done that last week, but I guess it'll be this week instead. Wish me luck. Also, the shower is this Saturday. I have plans for a game that will need some advance preparation. Here's hoping my son is willing to participate because he'll be key. I'll find out today!


  • Kid number 3 turns 19 this week. Are you kidding me? Someone please stop time!
  • Violin daughter graduated from the Suzuki program... completing book ten! Now, on to the fun stuff she says!
  • I compiled a ton of addresses this week and hope soon to mail out invitations to wedding 1. The nice thing about having wedding number 2 a few months later? The addresses are all ready to go!
  • After watching Captain Phillips this week I've adopted a new motto for this year: "Everything is gonna be okay!"
What are you all up to currently?


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