Thursday, November 27, 2014

Books I'm Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for all of the amazing people in my life and the fact that I have discovered reading and books that have changed my life. And of course, I'm thankful for all of you that read what I have to say about books and discuss them with me. So in honor of being thankful, here is a list of books that I am thankful for and that have impacted me.

The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote 
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath 
Self- Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling 
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood 
Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR

I have so many books I want to get through over my winter break from school! Here's ten books I'm hoping to read in the upcoming winter months (even though winter has already hit where I am). Make sure to let me know what's on your winter TBR.
Hosted byThe Broke and the Bookish


1. The Raven Boys, Maggie Stievater
I really need to start this series! I have planned on starting this series a million times since I bought the first one, but I'm going to start it this winter.

2. For Darkness Shows the Stars, Diana Peterfreund 
I just finished Jane Austen's Persuasion last month, and this one is a YA sci-fi retelling of Persuasion so I really want to read this one this winter too! I love the cover of this book and the companion novel, and I'm hoping to read both of them this winter.

3. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
Historical fiction fits in with the winters months for me. This one is a historical fiction with a kick-ass female lead, so it's really high on my list. I think January will be the month of dualogies for me!


4. The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan
I still haven't read this! I've heard pretty neutral reviews of this last book in the Heroes of Olympus series,so I need to read it for myself. It's the number one book I'm going to read over Christmas break from school, if I don't read it before then (but who am I kidding, between papers and finals I won't be reading this until break.)
5. The Bronze Horseman, Paulina Simons 
This is a perfect book to read in the winter. It's the first in a historical fiction romance trilogy that takes place in war torn Russia. I've heard lots of great things about this series, and I've heard that it's really emotional. It would be a great read for a snowed in weekend.

                                      6. Frankenstein, Mary Shelly 
Ever since reading the Gris Grimly graphic novel version of this story, I've been really wanting to read the original. I think this book would be perfect for winter because of the setting and the tones and themes. I'm searching for a beautiful copy of this book so let me know if you have any recommendations.

7. The Darkest Minds, Alexandra Bracken
Another series I need to start! The final book in this trilogy just recently came out, so I'm hoping marathon this series over break.

8.  The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
I'm really excited to read a Graham Greene novel, and this is the one that I want to start with. I think I'm really going to love this one.

9. This Shattered World, Amy Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
This companion novel to These Broken Stars comes out in December, and I'm really excited. The early reviews have been great, the cover is gorgous, and I really like the world of this series.

10. A Little Something Different, Sandy Hall 
This sounds like such a cute contemporary romance that will be perfect for brightening up the winter months. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Recently Read: Belzhar

Author: Meg Wolitzer
Genre: Young Adult- Magical Realism
Release Date: 2014
Page Count: 264
Rating:  3.5/5
Waiting on Wednesday Post for Belzhar

Jam has fallen in love for the first time. His name is Reeve and he's the British exchange student. They understand each other perfectly, until he's gone, and Jam is left devastated. Her parents send her to a boarding school for "emotionally fragile" teens in the hopes that she will reenter the world. There she is put into Special Topics in English where she and a small number of selected students will study the works of Sylvia Plath, and where something unbelievable happens when they write in their journals. 

I was really excited for this book, because I love Plath and The Bell Jar so I was really interested to see how it would come up in this Young Adult novel. I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book, but I really didn't enjoy the twist in the story. I just found it unrealistic I guess. (If you've read this, what did you think about the revelation?) 

I really liked the integration of Plath's works into this novel, and the theme that literature can understand exactly what you're going through and give you exactly what you need. I also liked the magical realism element in this novel and thought it was very well done. But I was a little underwhelmed by this book. I enjoyed it, and found many reasons to keep reading it, but I didn't love it. I do love the idea of this book introducing readers to Plath and her works though. If you read this and were interested in Plath's work, I 100% recommend The Bell Jar and any of her poetry.

I'm interested in Wolitzer's adult works; I enjoyed the writing style in this novel. If you've read anything else by her let me know.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: Won in a Giveaway

I haven't been buying a lot of books lately, but I won my first giveaway around Halloween time, so I've added The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters to my collection.
Hosted by: Tynga's Reviews

Won from Book Lovers Life

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recently Reread: Paper Towns

Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: 2009
Page Count: 305
Rating: 5/5

Also by John Green: First Reading of Paper Towns

*This post may contain spoilerish material*

I reread Paper Towns for my lit class this semester and I loved it even more than I did the first time. This is a book that really holds up to analysis and has so much more to it than just its entertainment value. (Which is very high, this book made me laugh out loud multiple times both times I read it). I thought I would share some of my thoughts I made while reading this book for my class.

One of my favorite elements of this novel is the three different section tittles: The Strings, The Grass and The Vessel.

Part One: The Strings: The idea of strings making up the insides of a person and holding them together is introduced very early in the story and is a reoccurring idea throughout the entire novel. Q thinks of his life and Margo’s lives as strings that are crossed and entangled with each other. Their crossing strings is one of the reasons Q feels responsible for finding Margo and bringing her home. The strings are one way that connectivness is represented in this novel.

Part Two: The Grass: The second way that the idea of people being connected is represented in this novel through the image of grass and roots. Whitman’s poem “Leaves of Grass” plays a large role in the story. As Q’s interpretation of the poem changes, his understanding of Margo and how they are connected changes as well. By looking at the world this way, Q starts to understand that he can find Margo, but he can’t make her come home, that part is up to her. This connection is not as strong and binding as the connection of the strings, but nevertheless it is still a connection through a root system and the connection is always there; it is not as easily severed as the strings are.

Part Three: The Vessel: The vessel is the third way that people and the way people connect are explained. Margo and Q decide that this theory of vessels that crack over time to let light in and out is the most accurate. The cracks come from life experience and hardships, but the cracks are not all bad. They let light in and out, meaning with cracks you can see out of your own vessel and into someone else’s and others can see into your vessel and connect with and understand you. This idea of light coming in and out of the vessels could also connect to the light shining out of the pumpkin in the epigraph of this novel. 

I also love the theme of this novel which is summed up so beautifully by this quote from the book:
“What a treacherous thing is it to believe that a person is more than a person.” pg 282

I also really love the poem that is quoted in the epigraph of the novel which is called Jack O' Lantern by Katrina Vanderberg, and after reading the full poem I think it's a perfect fit for the novel. (John Green reads the poem aloud here.

So in short, I really enjoyed rereading and examining this novel closer. I'm really looking forward to rereading more books in the future, and have already made my list of books I will be rereading for sure next year, which I will share soon. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recently Read: Revolver

Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction/Thriller
Status: Stand Alone
Publication Date: 2011
Page Count: 201
Rating: 4/5
Printz Award Nominee for the year 2011

Also by Marcus Sedgwick: Midwinterblood

Revolver is my second Marcus Sedgwick book I have completed. I had high hopes for this one and I was not disappointed.

The summary from the back of the book is so attention grabbing, I have to let you guys hear it. "In an isolated cabin in the Arctic Wilderness, fourteen year old Sig is alone with a corpse- his father, who fell through the ice of the lake and froze to death only hours earlier. Then, a stranger appears outside his door: a huge bear-like man claiming that Sig's father ran off with his gold- and threatening awful violence if Sig doesn't tell him where it is. Sig knows nothing about the gold, but he does know that there's a loaded Colt revolver hidden in the cabin. But even if Sig can get his hands on it, will he be able to shoot first?" 

Yeah, I know. Whoa.

This book was pretty intense, and is the perfect one sitting read. It's pretty short and so fast paced and suspenseful that you won't want to put it down until you know how it ends. The desolate arctic setting is so eerie and well staged.

I love how Sedgwick commands and bends time in his novels. Both books of his that I have read show off his ability to weave time to fit his plot and he seamless goes from past to present. This book is set in 1910, 1899 and 1967. I also found the ideas and questions that this book proposes interesting. This book really examines guns, violence, and humans reliance on them. Any one who has ever shot a gun will recognize what Sig feels when he shoots for the first time as a young boy. But just because this book raises questions and sparks discussion on guns, doesn't mean that this book is anit-gun. It just raises the questions and leaves the reader to answer them for themselves. 

I really recommend you check out something by Sedgwick. So far I have been really impressed by how unique his books are, and how beautifully time is displayed in each of them. He has quite a few books out that I have not read yet, and that I am eager to check out. Next on my list is The Book of Dead Days which I believe is the first book in a dualology. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Sequels I need Right NOW!

I'm usually way behind on series, so I'm usually not chomping at the bit for the newest book because I haven't read the first ones yet. But I'm waiting on a surprising number of sequels actually, so go me for being on top of at least a few series!

1. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski 
I really enjoyed The Winner's Curse and I'm eager to know where the story goes. The ending of the first book set up book two perfectly. I love the political intrigue of this series, and the covers are beautiful!
Release Date: March 3, 2015

2. Throne of Glass Number Four by Sarah J. Maas
We have such a long wait for this one! I loved Heir of Fire and I want to see who Celaena ends up with! And of course I love Maas' writing and how action packed these books are. I'm very eager to get a cover for this one too. 
Release Date: Unspecified 

3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
I really enjoyed To All the Boys I've Loved Before. It was such a cute and fun read. I'm thinking the sequel will be equally heartwarming and entertaining.
Release Date: April 21, 2015

4. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
I've been waiting for this one for a long time. It's been pushed back a couple of times. Now I'm feeling like I could use a reread of The Diviners but it's so big! The first book was good, but I think it's main job was to set up the rest of the series, so I'm thinking the next books will be even better. If they ever come out!
Release Date: April 14, 2015

5. Stand Off by Andrew Smith
I really liked Winger. I love the themes in Smith's books as well as the way he presents them. I'm interested to see where this story goes because I was perfectly content with the ending of Winger. 
Release Date: January 14, 2015

6. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson
Another book that has been pushed back many times. The second book had a cliffhanger ending, so I really want to see where this story goes! This series is so funny and entertaining, plus a little bit spooky. 
Release Date: February 10, 2015

7. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
These books are beautiful too! I was really surprised by These Broken Stars and I've been hearing positive early reviews on this companion novel.
Release Date: December 23, 2014

What sequels are you waiting for! Now excuse while I go get caught up on all of the other series that I haven't even started yet!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Liebster Award

I was nominated by Ireaditandweep for the Liebster Award!
So, how this works is I answer eleven questions from the blogger who nominated me, then give
eleven random facts about myself, and finally I nominate eleven people and ask them eleven questions. (Any idea why the number is eleven?) Alright, here goes!

Questions Answered 

1. What was the first book you ever read?
The first book I read completely on my own was a board book called What Does Baby Hear, which I've just scoured the internet for twenty minutes to find a picture of it and can't seem to, which tells you how old the book is. 

2. Who was your favorite school teacher?
I've had a couple of really great teachers throughout my school life, but my favorite would have to be my fourth grade teacher. She recognized my positive qualities and put me to work using them, which in turn helped me strengthen them. She even let me run the class store all by myself, which was a big deal guys. 

3.Have you ever had a book hangover?
Yes, sometimes I'm just not ready to leave a book behind yet after I'm finished and it takes me a couple days until I'm ready to start another one. I don't like to start a new book the same day that I finish one. I like to give each book a little while to be appreciated and thought about. 

4.What did you want to be when you grew up (as a kid)?
The same thing I'm currently getting a degree to be: a teacher. 

5. If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you bought?
A Master's Degree in English education! After that, the complete collection of Penguin Deluxe Classics. 

6. Say there was a fire and you could only save one book of your shelf, what would you save? 
I would go for the irreplaceable books, I have a lot of books in my house that belonged to my mom when she was a kid, those would be the first books I grabbed. 

7. Are you a cat or dog person?
I'm allergic to both. But I'm more allergic to dogs than cats. But I'm okay with dogs that don't shed, like poodles. So either I guess.

8. What are you currently reading?
Belzhar By Meg Wolitzer. I love The Bell Jar, so I'm interested to read the YA spin on Plath. 

9. If you could pick any book to describe your life, what would it be? 
Depends on the day I suppose. Earlier this semester I would have said The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath because I was in a really big rut about school and life, but now I would pick something different. 

10. If you had a pen name, what would it be?
This is really hard, I would probably never have a pen name because I would never be able to decide on one that I was completely satisfied with. Maybe something like Melony Stocket, just because it popped in my head as I was typing this. (Is that someone's name already, and that's why it popped in my head?)   

11.  What's your favorite quote from a book? 
It's scientifically impossible to pick a favorite anything, but one of my favorites is this one from J.D. Salinger's short story, A Girl I knew
“She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”

Eleven Facts About Me
1. I drink a lot of water every day, an abnormal amount actually. And if I don't get enough I get really grumpy and a huge head ache. 

2. I love learning about literary movements and the ways that literature impacted and was impacted by history and culture. I've started a segment on the blog named Literary Look which discuses literary movements. So far I've done The Beatnik Movement and The Harlem Renaissance

3. I use my younger brother, who is a Junior in high school, as my guinea pig and try out ideas for my future classroom on him. (I'm planning on being a high school English teacher, if you didn't know that, then that fact was probably a little confusing.) 

4. I love the BBC.

5. I'm deathly afraid of mice and worms. I will cry if there is a mouse within a mile of me that I am aware of, I can promise you that. 

6. I own way too many pairs of shoes. 

7. When I was younger my favorite movies were the Spice Girls movie: Spice World and Hercules and Xena The Battle For Mount Olympus

8. I'm a huge stress crier! I can't help it, it's just how my body reacts to stress. 

9. Oscar Wilde is my favorite person in history. 

10. I have a huge love for red heads! I just can't resist.

11. Outer Space freaks me out. Every time I learn something new about it, I get more freaked out by it. 

My Questions for the Nominees 
1.What is the saddest book you have ever read?
2. Do you write in your books while you read them?
3. What literary character are you thinking about naming your future children after? (Come on, I know you've got one in mind!) 
4. What book are you really excited to start?
5. What's your favorite hot beverage? (or cold if you don't like hot)
6. What's one of your favorite book to movie (or tv show or mini series) adaptions?
7. What TV show are you loving right now?
8. What celebrity would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
9. Approximately how many unread books do you think you own?
10.  What are some of your favorite poems/ poets?
11. What is your favorite board or card game?

I Nominate...
Curiouser and Curiouser
It Starts at Midnight
Enter Through the Pages
Paper Back Princess

And You! If you want to do this, please do. Let me know if you answer these questions, I would love to read your answers.

Let me know when you've answered these questions so I can check them out! Thanks again to Keely for nominating me!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recently Read: Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Status: Second in a completed trilogy
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 285
Rating: 4/5

Also by Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone

*Spoiler free for the entire series*

I'll skip the in depth synopsis since this is book two, but basically this book picks up right where the first one leaves off. Ravaka is in danger, the Darkling is on the loose and hungry for power and revenge, and Alina is in the middle of it all. I felt like this one had a little less action than the first book, but there was still plenty to go around.

I really liked the new characters that were introduced in this book. For some reason, I'm always skeptical and a little biased against new characters that pop up in the middle of series. I don't know why, but it seems like these characters have to work harder to win me over. The new characters in this book, especially Sturmhond really added to the story.

It's really unclear where the romance in this series is going. I feel like the romance will be an element that makes or breaks the third book for me. I really enjoyed how fast paced and easy to dive into the first two books in this series have been, and the third book is much larger than the first two so it must be extremely action packed!

I do think I enjoyed the first book in this series more than this one, but this one was good too. I'm kinda eager to read the third and final book in the series and see how everything wraps up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Next to Buy

Here's a sampling of the books that are very high up on my wishlist. Let me know if you have read any of these and what's on your wish list.

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters 
Summary from Goodreads
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout. 

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Summary from Goodreads
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Stray by Elissa Sussman
Summary from Goodreads
Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.
When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.
But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.
After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Give These People a Book!

1. Ben from Paper Towns by John Green
Ben makes me laugh out loud when I read this book. But not only is he funny, he also has depth and changes and matures right next to Q.
Paper Towns review

2. Haasan from An Abundance of Kathrines by John Green
Basically, every Green main character's bff could have made this list. Haasan is hilarious and I would love to read his narrative voice. 
3. Magnus Bane from The Shadow Hunter Series
I really like Magnus Bane's personality. I know Clare has a novella series out that focuses on Magnus, but it's not enough! I want to learn more about his past romances and adventures and I really love his relationship with Alec. Also, while we are requesting books from Clare, I'd like a trilogy about Jem and Tessa please.
City Of Bones Review

4.  The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
Part of the reason I really enjoyed Tim Burton's film adaption of this story was because of the level of depth that was given to the Mad Hatter. I would love to read about the exploits of Wonderland through the Mad Hatter's narration.

5. Irene Adler from A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Irene is the woman! I love her wit and power in this novel and love how Holmes respects her. There is a series about her solving crimes by Carol Nelson Douglas, but I have yet to read it. She has such potential, I thinks she could withstand being the main character in many more books. 

6. The Lost Boys From Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan is my favorite story of all time. We have a YA book narrated by Tinker Belle (Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson) but now I want a book about the lost boys.


7. The Lisbon Sisters from The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Ugenides
Then we would really know what was going on behind those closed doors and windows of the Lisbon house. I would love to learn more about the girls and why they did what they did. But then I guess that would take the mystery out of the story wouldn't it?
Virgin Suicides Review

8. Infinite Darline from Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Infinite Darline is truly infinite; she is larger than life. I love her outgoing and postive personality and the way she stands up for herself and her friends. I would love a book about her romantic endeavors.
Boy Meets Boy Review

9. Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I would love to read about Sturmhond's adventures as a pirateer! He's so funny and frustrating to those around him.
Shadown and Bone Review

10. Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice 
I love Mary Bennet's attitude and disdain for sappy romance in the novel. She is such a contrast to her two youngest sisters, and I would love to hear her narrate her annoyance with their obsession with young, handsome officers.
Pride and Prejudice Review

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recently Read: Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Classic/Romance
Publication Date: 1817
Page Count: 250
Rating: 5/5

Also by Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice

I finished another book off of my Classics and Rereads of 2014 List Persuasion by Jane Austen. This is is my second Austen novel I have read and it's safe to say I am an Austen fan.

Anne is twenty-eight years old, the middle sister, and unmarried. She was persuaded at the age of nineteen by her friend and motherly figure Lady Russell to break off her engagement to the man she loved. But now Captain Wentworth, the man whom she loved all those years ago, is back and Anne doesn't quite know how she feels about it.  

I loved this book. Austen's characters are always great, and her female heroines are always so smart and independent. They always seem to find a way to think for themselves even though they live in a time which didn't encourage them to do so. While Austen can create characters that you love, she is also brilliant at creating characters that you hate. She is the queen of the 19th century D-bag!

Jane Austen's works always seem so modern to me. The situations faced by the characters, the idea of a good guy turning into a bad guy, and the idea of miscommunication are seen in real life and romance fiction still today. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone declares classics as old and outdated. No! Read Austen and compare her stories to the rom-coms of today. Austen is not outdated people!!

This novel, as well as Pride and Prejudice explores the idea of communication in the 1800's. In a time where one always has to be polite and proper, communication, especially among the two sexes, was difficult and misunderstandings were frequent. I loved Captain Wentworth's scene where he declared his love for Anne. Keeping in mind the time setting of Austen's novels makes these declaration scenes all the more romantic. Austen's men always seem to speak so beautifully.(let's campaign to bring that lovely language back, shall we ladies?) 

This novel has great humor and suspense. Thank goodness this was a short novel because I don't think I could take another one hundred pages of waiting for the two to swallow their pride and tell each other how they feel! Suspense is not a word I would normally consider to describe a book with a romance-plot based book, but Austen has made it so.  

Reading this novel made me want to immediately reread and rewatch Pride and Prejudice

The Next Austen book I hope to read is Emma. I'm also on the look out for any mini-series or film adaptations of Persuasion so let me know if you have seen any that you like. What's your favorite Austen novel?
Oh! and now I can read For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund which is a Young Adult Sci-Fi retelling of Austen's Persuasion, which sounds very intriguing, does it not? 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Recently Read: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: 2012
Status: First in a completed trilogy
Page Count: 248
Rating: 4/5

I've been hearing lots of great things about The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo for a very long time. I finally got around to picking up the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone and I flew through it.

This novel is set in a fantasy world that loosely resembles Russia. The main character Alina and her best friend Mal grew up Orphans until entering the First Army. They are sent on a mission to cross The Shadow Fold, a dangerous and mysterious black spot that divides the country in two, when something goes wrong and Alina realizes she may have more to offer the world than she previously thought. 

This book contains a lot of tropes, orphan girl discovers she has magical powers, has a crush on her male best friend. is forced to make sacrifices and difficult decisions, falls for a powerful stranger etc. BUT they are very well done. The characters are great, and I can tell that they will continue to develop throughout the series. The action was greatly paced and the book was hard to put down. The Darkling, a very power character in this book which I won't say too much about because of spoilers, is very interesting and I'm eager to see where his character goes throughout the series. And I suspect that my soft spot for Mal will grow as the series continues as well. 

I also liked the world in this novel. The magic and fantasy elements are simple and easy to follow but yet interesting. I have a feeling that a lot more information about the world will be revealed in the following two books. I've heard lots of great things about the other two books in the series as well, so I have high hopes that I will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed this one. It's so nice to take a break from reading critically and analytically for school for a bit and just read something fun and adventurous for a while.  

For the first book in a series this book had a lot of action. There was very brief set up and then the action started, which was great. I'm planning on starting the second book in this series as soon as I finish this review. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How I Got My Mojo Back!

On Friday October 30th, I attended the MCTE (Michigan Council of Teachers of English) Conference. This was my first year attending, and as many of you may know, I am approximately half way done with my degree in Secondary English Education.

At the beginning of this semester I found out I wasn't going to graduate as quickly as I had thought and planned to, and it really crushed my soul (I know that sounds dramatic, but I'm not even kidding.) I was feeling so overwhelmed by everything that was laid out in front of me to complete before I could start to do what I have wanted to do since I was five years old: Teach. I felt like giving up and was going through life like a zombie.

I learned about this conference shortly thereafter from one of my professors and decided to go and check it out.

I'm so glad that I did! It was the perfect change of pace and reminder of why I want to teach English. Being around so many individuals with the same passions and goals as myself was inspiring. Everyone there made me want to be a better teacher, and pushed me to approach teaching from a different angle. Seeing how connected and supportive Michigan English teachers are was so great. Being in a room with thirty people who want to help share the love and joy of reading and writing with kids was amazing. Hearing speeches about how words and reading had changed the life of a retired teacher and librarian was so emotionally moving.

This was just what I needed to reignite the passion for my future career. I had let that passion be smothered by deadlines, paperwork, required classes, and lists. Now, I'm choosing not to focus on those. I'm focusing on learning and staying passionate.

So, if you ever have an opportunity to be surrounded by others who share your passions, please take advantage of it!
And don't let college crush your soul!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Want to Reread

I LOVE rereading books. A lot of people in my family think rereading is the weirdest thing, but I love it. I have been thinking about which books I want to put on my rereading list for next year, so this post will be perfect for narrowing down my huge list of books I want to reread.
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish


1. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
This one is at the top of my rereading list for next year! I read it my Junior year of high school and I need to reread and reappreciate this one.

2. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck 
This one is also at the top of my list. I haven't read this one since freshman year of high school! I really need to reread this and see how far I have come in analyzing literature since freshman year of high school. 

3. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak 
I really loved this book the first time I read it, and I think I will appreciate it even more with a second reading. You can read my thoughts from after the first read here.


4. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
I've read all but the last two chapters of this book. The first time I read it I lost my copy before I could finish it! No worries, I found it and now I want to reread and finish it. 

5. Elanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell 
I really think this book needs a reread too. (Obviously, look at the list its in.) I'm rounding up Printz Award winners and nominees to read and review, plus I really enjoyed this book and wouldn't mind rereading it.

6. Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan
This book is so funny, heartwarming and quick. This would be perfect to reread over the weekend while taking a break from school work. Read my review here.


7. An Abundance of Kathrines, John Green
I planned on rereading this book this year, but swapped it out for Paper Towns because I had to read that one for school. This is my favorite book of Green's; it's so funny and good natured.

8. Cleopatra, Stacey Schiff
This is a great biography. I read it a couple of years ago and the details are getting a little fuzzy so I want to reread it. Cleopatra's life was so exciting and she held such a strong presence, I loved reading about her life.

9. The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
I have only read the first book in this series ONE TIME. Every other book I've read at least twice. I need to reread them, and if Santa gets me the new paperback boxset, which I'm thinking he will, I will be even more excited to reread this series.

10. Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley 
I think this is a book that you have to read twice to fully appreciate. I loved the over lapping stories and the setting and tone of this novel. 

I'll probably pick four or five of these to prioritize for next year, that list will be coming up probably in January, along with the list of four of five classics I'm prioritizing.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

October Wrap-Up

October was pretty busy for me. I had midterms, papers, and speeches, and I suspect that November will be even busier because we are in the second half of the semester now. This wasn't my best reading month, But I really enjoyed what I did read. Quality over quantity right?

My reread of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
Dracula by Bram Stoker: Review and Brief History
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein

Favorite Book of the Month: I really loved rereading The Bell Jar, but Gris Grimly's Frankenstein was such a beautiful and poignant adaption of the original that it takes the top spot as my favorite book of the month.

Other Posts:
Waiting on Wednesday: We Should Hang Out Sometime
Fun and Light Reads: Recommendations and TBR
Stacking the Shelves: Libraries are a Beautiful Thing
TTT: Character Driven Novels
Perfect October Reads
Stacking the Shelves: Fun Reads
TTT: Book Places I want to Visit
Before the End of the Year TBR (Which I'm making really good progress on!)
Stacking the Shelves: I Earned it. Right?
My Favorite Epigraphs: Part 1
TTT: Series I Want to Start
TTT: Halloween Reads
Waiting on Wednesday: In a World Just Right

Favorite Post of the Month: I really enjoyed making the post on My Favorite Epigraphs because I loved going through my books and searching for great epigraphs. Keep your eyes peeled for a part two soon! I also loved writing and researching my Dracula Review and History post.

Most Popular Post of the Month: Libraries are a Beautiful Thing and Perfect October Reads

Looking Ahead: Later this week I'm going to be posting about an exciting event I went to that really inspired me, along with reviewing a YA fantasy novel and a Classic novel.

Don't forget to friend me on Goodreads!
Happy November!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Stacking the Shelves:Book Outlet

My mom put in a Book Outlet order so she let me sneak a few things into the order. I picked up some things I have been wanting to read for a while, and a Shakespeare murder mystery because it was just too cute to pass up. Book Outlet is so addicting, and now I've got my mom hooked on it!
Let me know if you have read any of these, and what you bought this week!
Hosted by:Tynga's Reviews



Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler
The Monstermologist, Rick Yancey
Everyday, David Levithan
The Opening Night Murder, Anna Rutherford