Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Summary from Goodreads:

High school senior Jonathan Aubrey creates worlds at will. In Kylie-Simms-is-my-girlfriend, he’s given himself everything he doesn’t have in real life-–the track team, passing grades, and his dream girl–-until one day he confuses his worlds and almost kisses the real Kylie Simms. Now his girlfriend Kylie and the real Kylie are changing, and Jonathan must solve the mystery of his own life to save his love from a gruesome fate.

Why I'm Excited:
This book is getting amazing reviews from those who have read an advanced copy, and alternate worlds are something that are not very common in YA books. This sounds like a really interesting blend of contemporary and fantasy. The concept and plot sound fresh and I love the blue cover. 

Hosted by:Breaking the Spine 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reads

I can't believe that October is almost over! I know I say that at the end of every month but its true. I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween, but I do enjoy any holiday that involves themed reading. I'm not one for scary movie or books, but I do have a few favorite Halloween books that I have read and a few that I want to read. 
I made a post earlier this month about Perfect October Reads which you can check out if you want to see more of my selections. 



1. Dracula, Bram Stoker
I just finished Dracula this month and I did a rather detailed post on the story's history as well as a review. (read it here.) Although this one is quite long, I really enjoyed listening to it on audio book, and would recommend it if you have any long drives coming up, especially if you will be driving at night! It definitely spooked me a little bit, Dracula is one creepy guy.

2. The Diviners, Libba Bray
Another large book, The Diviners is the only Libba Bray book I have read. I loved the atmosphere of 1920's New York City in this novel, and if the second book ever gets released, I think the series will be quite enjoyable. It deals with a lot of supernatural elements and seriously creepy serial killer. (As opposed to not the creepy serial killers I guess).  

3. Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman 
Okay, I cheated. I haven't read all of the stories in this collection, but I have really enjoyed what I have read. This book would be perfect for Halloween night. Just pick up a few creepy and weird tales while curled up after dark. 


4. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book is a cute retelling of Kipling's The Jungle Book, and I found it to be a really enjoyable read. I think that majority of Gaiman's works would be great for the Halloween season and I really want to read more from him, so let me know what you liked from him. 

5. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly
This adaptation of Frankenstein  was the last book I read, and I really loved the art style and how well the themes from the original story were preserved. I'm really itching to read the original story now, and I think I will add it to next Halloween's TBR list. (Yep, I'm already planning my TBR that far ahead!) Any of Gris Grimly's works would be perfect for Halloween. He illustrated some Poe stories and I'm very eager to get my hands on those!



6. The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
I NEED to start this series! I'm going to start it very, very soon. I've heard lots of great things.

7. A Certain  Slant of Light, Laura Whilcomb 
This one is about a girl ghost who haunts a high school English classroom, which means I'm super interested. I've heard it's rather heartbreaking though.

8. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black 
I haven't read any Holly Black yet, and this one intrigues me because it is a standalone, and it's about Vampires. Everyone loves a good vampire novel. 


9. The Fall, Bethany Griffin 
This is a retelling of Poe's story, The Fall of the House of Usher. I'm always interested to see how authors rework classics in YA fiction, and Poe seems like he would be a bit of a challenge to rework. I've heard pretty mixed reviews, but I'm still interested in checking it out. Plus, what a creepy cover!

10. Born Wicked, Jessica Spottswood 
This is a YA trilogy about witches set in a fictional historical setting. I've heard pretty good reviews of this book, and I haven't read a YA witch series yet. Let me know if you have any other recommendations for YA witch books!

What are you reading this Halloween? Any Gaiman recommendations? Young Adult Witch series recommendations? 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Recently Read: Gris Grimly's Frankenstein

Author: Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly
Genre: Graphic Novel- Classic Adaptation
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 208
Rating: 5/5

I read Gris Grimly's Frankenstein in the spirit of Halloween. I hadn't read the original story by Mary Shelley, but I loved this version and I now really want to read the original. This book was on my Before the End of the Year TBR list, which I'm making good progress on!

This is a graphic novel adaptation of the story of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he creates. This version uses sections of the original text along side abridged text, and is accompanied by gorgeous art. 

The art style for this book matched the tone of the story perfectly, The color pallet is full of dark colors and the art is almost warped. The story is told through words and pictures. Sometimes the text carries the story forward and sometimes the story is told solely through pictures.  

Not only is the inside of this book beautiful, but the jacket and actual book are beautiful too. The book without the jacket has a beautiful gold design and the spine has gold lettering too. The jacket is illustrated in the same style as the inside. If you ever see this book in a bookstore or library I highly recommend you flip through it, at the least if you don't end up falling in love with it and taking it home. 

This book captures the themes of the original story so well. The opening page with the epigraph is just breathtaking! (By the way, I mentioned Frankenstein in my Favorite Epigraphs Part 1 post because just the epigraph alone is amazing.) You don't have to have read the original story in order to enjoy this book, and if you have read it, I think you will really love this adaption.

I'm really eager to pick up the other works Grimly has illustrated including two volumes of Poe stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Pinocchio

If you have any recommendations for graphic novel adaptations of classics, let me know! 


Friday, October 24, 2014


Droll roll please.....

I'm going to actually use my Goodreads page!

Hopefully you weren't expecting anything too exciting.

I've had my Goodreads for a couple years now, but I hardly ever use it. I've spent the last few days sort of updating it and I really plan to start utilizing it next year, so I'm starting now to train myself to use it regularly and to figure everything out,

Leave me your Goodsreads tips and follow me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recently Read: Dracula History and Review

Author: Bram Stoker
Genre: Classic Horror/Gothic Fiction
Publication Date: 1897
Page Count: 402
Rating:  4/5

I just finished Bram Stoker's Dracula. This book has such a rich and interesting history behind it I thought I would do a combined post with the novel's history and legacy as well as share some of my thoughts on the novel.
And P.S. how beautiful is this Penguin Classics edition?

Background and History:
Bram Stoker was the business manager of the then famous Lyceum Theatre in London in 1897. He was a very close friend and manager to famous stage actor Henry Irving (some literary historians make the case for Stoker having romantic feelings for Irving, but I will leave that up to you to research and decide upon). Stoker would write a theatrical version of his vampire tale before he wrote the novel in hopes of Irving taking the leading role. Stoker modeled Dracula's mannerisms and dramatic flourishes after Irving, but Irving would not agree to play the role. Stoker was a part of the circle of late 19th century authors that included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, and himself among others. Stoker was not  as well-known or successful from his writing as the other authors in this circle and he was a little bitter about it. 

Dracula was published to decent reviews, but did not sell an overwhelming number of copies. It was not until film adaptions of the novel began being produced that the novel became a best seller. The novel has been in constant printing since 1931. Dracula has appeared as a major role in over 217 film adaptions, he is second only to Sherlock Holmes with over 223 film appearances. 

Dracula may have gotten his name from "Vlad the Impaler" (real name Vlad Dracula III), who is rumored to have killed between 40,000 and 100,000 Europeans during his reign mainly by impaling them because he did not see them as "necessary members of society."

If you are interested in fictional books with Bram Stoker as a character I suggest, The Sherlockian by Graham Moore and A Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandeth.  I'm on the lookout for great biographies of authors so let me know if you have any suggestions for author biographies.

Thoughts on the Book:
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! This book is written as a series of letters and journal entries, which I was not expecting until I started the book, I listened to most of it on audio book while driving, and I actually got a little creeped out a couple times while driving at night. The first fifty or so pages of this book, when you first meet Dracula, were so eerie and so well done. I loved the atmosphere of Dracula's castle. and how so many different characters and story lines throughout the novel end up connecting. Even though Dracula is only really present for those first fifty or so pages, his lack of presence is even more unnerving because you're never sure where he's going to turn up next or what he's up to.

I really enjoyed the character of Dr. Van Helsing, and I can totally see why his character has survived the test of time and is included in so many vampire movies. He's so wise and weird!  

The biggest theme that I got out of this book was in connection the the turn of the century. This book was published three years before the turn of the century and Victorian England was changing, Technology was advancing and the world was moving on from the romantic and Gothic age of Victorian London. This contrast between new and old is seen in many place throughout the novel. Dracula represents tradition and history (he often speaks of his families history and the many wars they fought hundreds of years ago) where Van Helsing and his band represent the new age with their cutting edge technology (which included phonographs and hypnotism). In the end, as I'm sure you are aware, the new age beats tradition. 

A lot of the articles and analysis of this work that I have read make sex and sexual power the biggest theme of this novel. I do believe that this novel does comment on the sexual expectations placed on women and how a wife or "respectable women" should not be seen as sexual in the least among other things concerning sex, but I don't see that as the biggest theme of this novel. Many critics even make a case for a homoerotic connection between Dracula and Jonathon Harker, one of the main characters who lives in Dracula's castle for a while.  

If you have read Dracula let me know what you thought about themes or anything else in general.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New Series I Want to Start

There are a lot of series that I want to start, and most of these series on my list today I own the first book in the series so there's no excuses to have not read them (well, except school and a massive TBR pile.) Now about the "newness" factor of these books. All of these series are relatively new, and while the first book might have been published over two years ago, the final books are more recently published. Okay, here we go!
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

1. The Grisha Trilogy, Leigh Bardugo
I've heard many a good thing about this fantasy trilogy, and I put the first book in this series on my Before the End of the Year TBR list so I will be reading this series soon. I already have books one and two on my Nook, so I feel a marathon coming on.

2. The Darkest Minds Trilogy, Alexandra Bracken
Another series that I own the first two books from but have yet to read! I think I will wait until I pick up the third and final book before marathoning this one as well. I love the covers of these books, and I have also heard lots of great things about this trilogy.

3. The Raven Boys Quartet, Maggie Stiefvater
The premise of this series sounds unique and a little mysterious. I have owned the first book in the series for a while now, and with the release of the third book earlier this month, it's time for me to finally start this series.


4. The Remnant Chronicles, Mary E. Pearson
There is only one book in this series out so far, and it hasn't been out that long so I'm not too far behind on this one yet! This is going to be a fantasy series I do believe, and I'm interested to see where this series is going to go since the synopsis of the first book sounds like it could be a standalone.

5. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Laini Taylor 
I've heard lots of great things about this book and its really unique world, I'm looking forward to starting this trilogy; it sounds like something I will really like.

6. The Mara Dyer Trilogy, Michelle Hodkin
The third book in this trilogy is set to release in a couple weeks so I want to hop on this one as well. I think this series will be a good series to marathon as it has a mystery element to the plot, and an unreliable narrator, which I love.


7. The Defiance Trilogy, C.J. Redwine
I don't know anything about the plot of this trilogy honestly, but the third book just recently came out and I have been seeing it around a lot. I've also heard that this trilogy has a really good love triangle, so I really want to check this series out.

8. The Rebel Belle Series, Rachel Hawkins
This series sounds really cute and action packed. Plus it's got a great kick-ass lead female character, which I'm all about! The second book is coming out either late this year or early next year so I'd like to pick this one up.

9. The Fairyland Series, Cathrine M. Valente  
This is a middle grade series of which I own the first two books. They look so enjoyable and they have beautiful illustrations throughout. I always enjoy middle grade books and I'm excited to start this middle grade fantasy series. There are currently three books in this series.

10.The Waterfire Saga Series, Jenifer  
This is a mermaid series with a beautiful cover and that's all I really know. I have yet to read a YA mermaid series and I have a few on my TBR list including this one. If you've read this one, please let me know.

Have you read any of these series? What series should I read immediately?
What series made your list?

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favorite Epigraphs: Part One

What is an epigraph, you ask. An Epigraph is a short quote that precedes a piece of literature and is intended to suggest the theme of the piece, it can also be a short inscription on a statue or building, but today I'm only concerned with the literary definition.

I've always loved epigraphs and when I find one that fits perfectly with the story, I tend to get a little emotional. (Ya I know, I'm a weird literature geek) The other day I came across one epigraph that made me stop right in my tracks and think for a good ten minutes, it of course made me a little emotional as well, but that epigraph inspired this post. Today I'll share five of my favorite epigraphs and as I discover more, I will share them in following posts.

I will start with the epigraph I spoke of earlier.

Epigraph for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 
"Did I request thee,
Maker, from my clay
To mould me man?
Did I solicit thee
From Darkness to
Promote me?"
-Paradise Lost

Epigraph for Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451
"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way"
- Juan Ramon Jimenez

Epigraph for Graham Green's The Quiet American 
"This is the patent age of new inventions
For killing bodies, and for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions."
- Lord Byron

Epigraph for Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once"
-Charles Lamb

Epigraph for Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises 
"You are all a lost generation."
-Gertrude Stein

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: I Earned it Right?

Lately I have been motivating myself to do my homework and studying with the promise of rewarding myself with the purchasing my new books. So as a result I went a little crazy on amazon, but I got all of these but one used so I got some really great deals!
Hosted by: Tynga's Reviews




I got Stolen and Revolver to add to my Printz award nominee list. Plus I recently read Midwinterblood by Sedgwick and really enjoyed it so I'm really interested to read more of his works.
Have you read any of these?
What's your favorite Printz Award winner or nominee?
What did you buy this week?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Before the End of the Year TBR

I've made some plans for my end of the year reading. I have some books that I'm really hoping to get through before the end of the year and since I'm a list maker, I decided to make a list of them. Some of these books are from my Rereads and Classics to Read in 2014 List and some are books that I'm just really hoping to get through. 

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and Gris Grimly 
This beautifully illustrated version of Frankenstein contains both original text and abridged text as well as beyond gorgeous illustrations. I featured this book in my Perfect October Reads Post and I'm really looking forward to reading it this month. 

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
I have not read this yet, and as a classic lover and literature student it's eating me up inside! I'm planning on saving this for Christmas break when I will be off from school and can concentrate on it solely. 

3. Persuasion by Jane Austen 
This one is on the above mentioned Classics to Read in 2014 list as well, and I plan to read it next month, and possibly listen to it as an audio book. This will be my second Austen and I'm beyond excited for it. 

4. The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
This is my final reread I have planned for the year. I first read this book two years ago on Christmas break and I instantly knew I wanted to reread it after I finished it. I think it would be great to read it this Christmas break and see how those two years have changed my thoughts on this novel. 

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The list of unread books on my Nook is really starting to pile up, and I bought this book when I first got my Nook for Christmas a year ago. I even have the sequel on my Nook already too so I have to get to this one soon. This is the first in a YA fantasy trilogy that is set in a world that loosely resembles Russia. I have heard nothing but great things about this trilogy and I'm excited to start it. 




What's on your Before the End of the Year TBR? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recently Read: The Sherlockian

Author: Graham Moore
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication Date: 2010
Page Count: 350
Rating: 4/5

My mom has been trying to get me to read this book for about a year now, and I finally picked it up. I'm glad I did because I found this book to be a great fall mystery. For reason, fall always makes me want to read mysteries and Holmes in particular.

This book alternates between two stories. The story of Harold, a modern day member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a club of the most elite Sherlockians, and the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who has become fed up with the attention Holmes has been receiving and attempts to solve a string of murders himself. The Baker Street Irregulars and many historians are in search of Doyle's missing diary, but when the Sherlockian who claims to have found the diary ends up dead, the game is really afoot.

 I really enjoyed the dual story lines in this novel and the way they overlapped and intertwined. I thought Moore did an excellent job of making the historical characters in this book accurate as well as the time period. I really enjoyed reading from Doyle's perspective, and thought his personality and narrative was spot on. I liked the mix of fact and fiction in this book as well as the crazy world of the Sherlockians (who actually exist!)  

After reading this book I immediately wanted to pick up biographies of all the literary figures in this book, Bram Stoker, Arthur, and Oscar Wilde (who has a small cameo). I'm on the look-out for great biographies of authors so let me know if you have read any that you like. I'm also in the mood to read some more Sherlock Holmes stories but I've got so many things I want to read before the end of the year! It's not required that you have any previous knowledge of the Sherlock stories before reading this book, but if you do, you will get more out of it I think. Also, be aware that this book does discuss the solutions to a few Holmes stories so if you haven't read them you may be spoiled for a few Holmes stories. 

If you like Sherlock Holmes or Arthur Conan Doyle you should pick this one up. It's so nice to sit with a warm drink and a mystery on a rainy fall day and this is two fast paced mysteries in one. I'm interested to see what Moore will write in the future since this is his debut novel. I would love for him to write more books with literary figure characters.  

Let me know if you have read any other books like this that have authors as characters, and any of your favorite author biographies!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places Books Have Made me Want to Visit

This week's topic is places that books have made me want to visit. 

1. Hogwarts
Duh! the number one answer to this question will always be the world of Harry Potter. I would love to sit and do homework in the library at Hogwarts or spend an afternoon in Hogsmead.

2. Victorian London
Literature makes Victorian London sound like the Golden Age. I have read so many books that take place in Victorian London and it seems like such a romantic time period. There's a reason modern day authors keep returning to Victorian London in their works. The world was on the verge of a new millennium, and London lit by gas lamps would be oh so romantic! (Romantic in the literary sense not like 'love' romance, although I suppose it could be romantic in that too)
Try: Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle or anything by Dickens

3. Neverland
I would gladly let Peter lead me to Neverland and abandon my opportunity to grow up! Twenty isn't too old to go to Neverland is it?!
Try: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie of course or Tiger Lilly by Jodi Lyn Anderson

4. The Yorkshire (Bronte) Moors
Another Romantic place that has inspired some really amazing literature. I have seen videos of the Moors and I so want to spend a week there writing a novel, Which is really saying something because I usually have zero desire to write a novel.
Try: Wuthering Heights Graphic Novel or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte 

5. Camp Half-Blood
The best summer camp ever! How cool would it be to spend summer with Percy Jackson, who in my mind is a red head!, and Annabeth?
Try: The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series or The Heroes of Olympus series 

6. Paris 1920's- 1930's
This sounds like such a magical time and every time I read a book with this setting I want to visit and be among the amazing artists that roamed the city in this time period.
Try: The Paris Wife by Paula McClain or Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald 

7. Wonderland
Wonderland would be an adventure for sure! I would love to jump into Carroll's creation and follow the White Rabbit.
Try: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll or Splintered by A.G. Howard

8. A Boarding School 
I've read so many great YA books that take place in a boarding school. Even though in reality I would HATE attending a boarding school (unless it was Hogwarts) the boarding school YA books I've read make me want to visit one.
Try: Winger by Andrew Smith or The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recently Read: The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Author:  Edgar Allan Poe
Genre: Classic/ Mystery
Publication Date: 1841
Rating: 3/5

I listened to this short story while driving from my parents house to my apartment. I often find myself so bored of the drive after about forty minutes, but lately I have been listening to classics on my free audio book app on my phone and it has been making the drive go much faster.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue is widely regarded as the first detective story, and Arthur Conan Doyle as cited it as inspiration for his Sherlock Holmes stories. The detective in this story reminded me a lot of Holmes actually. 

Our unnamed narrator describes the time that his roommate and bff solved the murder of Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter Mademoiselle Camille. This story starts out a little slow, the first ten minutes or so is an ode to analytical thinking and talks about chess a lot, but then the story picks up. For a Poe story this is rather tame, although now that I think of it the descriptions of the bodies of the two women is a little disturbing. The solution to the mystery was unexpected and rather unique and perhaps a little over-the-top. 

This story is worth the read if you like the detective fiction genre and would like to see where it started, or if you would like to read the inspiration behind Holmes. My audio book was two hours in length so it is a quick read. If you have never read Poe before, I wouldn't start with this one. Start with one of his more popular works like The Tell-Tale Heart or The Black Cat. Poe's Poetry is also quite good, and if you have only read his short stories you should try his poetry. Annabelle Lee is one of my favorite poems of his and one of my all time favorite poems in general.  

I find that I don't have too much to say about this story, it has left me a little underwhelmed, but I'm glad I read it for its place in literary history and its place in the history of detective fiction. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: Fun Reads

This week's haul is full of young adult and middle grades reads. I've been drawn to quick fun reads when it comes to book shopping, but dense classics when it comes to what I'm actually reading. Your guess is as good as mine as to why that's happening. Let me know if you've read any of these and what you've bought this week.
Hosted by: Tynga's Reviews

Nook Update


Physical Books