Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! + Announcement


Since this is a special day in the Potter-world I decided it would be the perfect time to announce an event Sarah and I will be putting together called BACK TO HOGWARTS WEEK.

It is a week where we make posts about anything in the world of Harry Potter from the importance of quidditch to the nature of prophecy to our own experience with the fandom. Basically it just gives us a chance to analyze and fangirl about this fantastic book series. It will last from September 1-7 which is the first week back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for young witches and wizards.

Mark your calendars and get ready to go back to Hogwarts.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (4)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews which is about showing off new additions to your bookshelf.

William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy by Ian Doescher
Verily, A New Hope
The Empire Striketh Back
The Jedi Doth Return 

Yard Sale Bargains
 The Giver
Charlotte's Web
The Night Before Christmas
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys
Disney Princess: the Essential Guide

I bought the Giver for a friend since I already have 2 copies, Charlotte's Web because it was beautiful, Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys because I was curious, and the other 2 because they are fun! What's new on your shelf this week?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Feature Follow (4)

This is a meme hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read.  It's a blog hop to help expand your readership.

 The question this week is: What is your favorite tv series that you can watch over and over again on Netflix? Well, I don't have Netflix, I'm old fashion I actually own DVDs. Nevertheless, my favorite series to rewatch is:

I just love all of the characters and the world and Serenity and the humor and the seriousness. It makes me laugh and it makes me cry way more than I should. Firefly is one of my all time favorite shows, but I didn't discover it until long after it was canceled. I still mourn its death. I hate FOX!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (1): Best Ron Moment

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts

     This weeks topic is best Ron moment. I knew which moment I wanted to use, I knew which book it was in, I went through the possible pages three times last night and I still couldn't find it! Then I googled it this morning and someone had helpfully put up the page number I needed.

     My favorite Ron moment is from The Half-Blood Prince when they are in Defense Against the Dark Arts class and Snape asks Harry how to tell the difference between an Inferius and a ghost. Harry struggles to answer, Snape is sarcastic... and then there's Ron.
"Well, what Harry said is more useful if we're trying to tell them apart!" said Ron. "When we come face-to-face with one down a dark alley, we're going to be having a shufti to see if it's solid aren't we, we're not going to be asking, 'Excuse me, are you the imprint of a departed soul?'" - Ch 21, pg. 460
     That is one of my favorite Ron quotes, it always makes me laugh.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Title: Brazen
Author: Katherine Longshore
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: June 12, 2014
Rating: 4 Stars
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?-Summary from Goodreads

I fell in love with this book right from the beginning and I read the whole thing in about 6 or 7 hours. Considering it’s a 500 page book I think I did pretty darn good. On the other hand, this review took me 3 or 4 days to write so maybe it’s not so impressive.

Brazen follows the story of Mary Howard who marries Henry ‘Fitz’ Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, in the first chapter. While the young couple are married it is in name only, and they are not allowed to spend time together alone. Mary decides she wants to get to know Fitz and that is when things begin. Their romance is sweet and awkward which is refreshing change to the normal political alliances of the Tudor court. Mary believes she loves him, but at the same time she wonders if love even exists. All she knows is her parents abusive marriage and the constant adultery that is committed at court. She holds up Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage as true love, but we all know how that ends.

This book takes place towards the end of Anne Boleyn’s time as Queen. While you don’t need to read Tarnished to understand Brazen, they do act as part 1 and part 2 of Anne’s life. I really enjoyed the little nods here and there to things that had happened earlier in Tarnished.

Mary’s partners in crime are her friends Madge and Margaret (Henry VIII’s niece). Whenever those three are on the page together it shows that although hundreds of years have passed teenage girls haven’t changed. They help Mary navigate court life while also finding their own way and causing scandal themselves.

I love the Tudor era; all the scandal and intrigues of court. The people who lived in King Henry VIII’s court were playing a dangerous game and always had to be on their guard. I like to compare courtiers to spies, one of the many things they have in common is that the only way to stay alive is to leave the game. While trying to live up to the expectations of her family and the rules set by royalty Mary Howard tries to find some form of freedom for herself.

My favorite thing about Katherine Longshore’s novels is how she manages to capture the time period so perfectly. You can tell when reading her books that she researched a lot, but unlike some historical fiction Brazen does not get bogged down by the facts, it has heart and never gets dull. Brazen is the perfect combination of historical fact and creative license.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top 10 Tuesday (4): Deserted Island Edition!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The question this week is who are the top ten characters I would want with me on a deserted island. We decided to share the island and split the list.

Sarah's Pick
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
She can hunt and knows how to survive.
Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
He's the son of Poseidon. He'd be great at fishing and stuff like that.
Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
She has brains and knows how to organize people. She would be a great leader for the group, delegating people their jobs and keeping everyone calm.
Maya (Darkness Rising)
She can shapeshift into a cougar and would be a great help hunting and keeping away any predators on land.
Jack (Dust Lands Trilogy)
He's the comic relief and eye candy.... okay, I'm sure he can do other stuff too but he could do it with his shirt

Christina's Pick
Robin Hood
I don't know which version he would be from, but I figure he knows how to live in a forest and how to build a village.
Leo (Heroes of Olympus)
He can build stuff and make a fire anywhere. Also, Leo's awesome.
Danica Shardae (Hawksong)
She's can shapeshift into a hawk. She would probably be really good at scouting and possibly taking messages to the mainland.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
She's got the brains and magic. I don't know what she'd do, but whatever it is it would probably be helpful.
Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)
He can cook and garden. Plus, I am in love with him... so... yeah.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel by Melissa Marr

Title: Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Return to the world of Melissa Marr's bestselling series and discover how the events of Wicked Lovely set a different faery tale in motion. . . . Originally presented as a manga series and now available for the first time as a stand-alone novel, Desert Tales combines tentative romance, outward strength, and inner resolve in a faery story of desert and destiny.

The Mojave Desert was a million miles away from the plots and schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that's exactly why Rika chose it as her home. The once-mortal faery retreated to the desert's isolation after decades of carrying winter's curse inside her body. But her seclusion—and the freedom of the desert fey—is threatened by the Summer King's newfound strength. And when the manipulations of her trickster friend, Sionnach, thrust Rika into a new romance, she finds new power within herself—and a new desire to help Sionnach protect the desert fey and mortals alike. The time for hiding is over.- Summary from Goodreads.

I had previously read the Manga version of this story, but it was quite a while ago and I really didn’t remember the plot,  so everything was fresh.

I thought the prologue was awesome, but then the same things that were shown in the prologue were explained in chapter one. I felt like a lot of the book was repetitive and explained a lot of things that I already knew, which, for people who haven’t read the Wicked Lovely series, might be helpful, but to me it was just annoying. Part of the reason that it wasn’t up to par with the other books in the series might be because Marr was rewriting a story that she had already wrote in a different format which confined her to a certain outline and dialogue. Despite all that I did enjoy the book.

The story is set during Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely #4) and followed Rika, a former Winter Girl who ran to the Mojave desert when Donia took her place in the curse. The relationship that Rika had with Jayce, a human, felt kind of weak and under developed, but I think that’s because the relationship had more to do with Rika’s character development than the actual relationship itself. The character I found most interesting was Sionnach (shh-knock) a fox fey who was the alpha of the solitary desert fey. The reader really doesn’t know what Sionnach’s going to do or what his motives are so it makes for an interesting character. Other well-known Wicked Lovely character show up, such as Donia and Keenan.  Desert Tales is third-person with multiple points of view like the rest of the Wicked Lovely series.

While Desert Tales is not a fantastic book, it does add on to a fantastic series and continues to expand the world by showing the politics of the solitary fey.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Haven Season 1 (TV Show)

          Sarah discovered this show and was hooked, she got four episodes in before I started watching it. I got hooked during the first scene when the main character's boss picks up one her books and remarks that he didn't think she was into the teen vampire books. Yesterday I showed Haven to a friend of mine and she got hooked within the first 15 minutes.

          Haven looks like your typical small town, but when FBI Agent Audrey Parker gets sent there to track down an escaped convict she discovers that there is more to Haven than meets the eye. People are suddenly getting the ability to do strange and impossible things, they call it the Troubles. This isn't the first time the Troubles have happened in Haven, nor will it be the last.

          Audrey likes supernatural books and strange cases. She'll rule out any normal explanations quickly before looking for the abnormal. She's a sarcastic and easy to like character, which is what makes the show so addicting right from the start. Her partner, Nathan, takes a little more time to warm up to, but he balances Audrey by being slightly reluctant to except the strange things going on, and is the more serious side of the partnership. And then there is Duke (he's Sarah's favorite). He's the usual annoying, lovable, slightly criminal, jackass sort of character that most shows have to have. He's a reoccurring character throughout the first season who shows up usually because he's in trouble or knows the person who is.

          Throughout the first season it paints a picture of what the Troubles are, but it doesn't given an explanation as to why they happen. I imagine that they'll probably deal with that later in the show. Towards the end of the season they also bring up a few things that they'll have to address in the next season.

          I like to compare this show to Supernatural or Fringe because it's fairly episodic and deals with strange/impossible things that go on in Haven. The main difference between those shows and Haven is that they figure out the problem and kill whoever is causing it, in Haven Audrey and Nathan try to help the Troubled people who usually don't understand their powers. That is what makes this series different in a world of detective and monster shows.


Stacking the Shelves (3)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews which is about showing off new additions to your bookshelf.

Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa T. Bergren
Cascade (River of Time #2) by Lisa T. Bergren

     I was so excited to get these books! Our pastor gave us some gift cards to a Christian bookstore when we graduated and I finally spent it!lol I went looking around to see what books they had and found these that were historical and had time travel. I was hooked! I can't wait to read them!

          When I got the gift card I decided to buy a small bible that I could bring with me to school. I picked a New King James Version because that's the type I grew up with; it's familiar and the is language beautiful to me. I also picked up 2 yellow highlighters that don't bleed through.

               -Sarah & Christina

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feature Follow Friday (3)

This is a meme hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read.  It's a blog hop to help expand your readership.

This video of Sh*t Writers Say never fails to make us laugh. It's completely crazy and at the same time we can tell that some of what they are saying  is very true. It's also fun to play 'name that author' while watching it.

          -Sarah & Christina

What's Next? (1)

What's Next? is a weekly meme hosted by IceyBooks which helps conflicted readers choose which book to read next.

I've got so many books that I want to read from the library, from my own bookshelf, and from my sister's bookshelf. I figure it's easier to let the blogosphere decide.  

Need (Need #1) by Carrie Ryan
Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you'd have to fear. -Summary from Goodreads

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi
The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival--he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close. -Summary from Goodreads

 Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making. - Summary from Goodreads
 Those are the choices. Which one should I read next?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why I Don't Like Trilogies

Confession: I don’t like trilogies.

     It’s not the trilogies themselves, a good story is a good story no matter how many books it takes to tell it. Many of the books I use as examples I actually really like, but many trilogies use similar storytelling formats that I don’t always enjoy.

Trilogies that do this: The Hunger Games, Divergent, Across the Universe, Inkheart
What it is: The first two books have a similar setting, style, tone, or type of telling the story and the third book breaks the well-known pattern.
Why I don’t like it: Often times I find myself looking for a certain type of book and it sweeps the rug out from under my feet leaving me shocked and having trouble adjusting.

Trilogies that do this: Darkest Powers, Darkness Rising, Sea of Shadows (probably)
What it is: Books stretched out into a trilogy that would have done better as a large standalone. Usually the first book introduces the characters, world, and teases at the plot. Not much else happens. The second book is heavy in action and explains more. The third book wraps everything up.
Why I don’t like it: I don’t like having to wait three years for a series to complete when it would have been better as a single book. Most of the books are good, but as a complete story it could have been great.

     I also find that when I’m reading trilogies I start losing interest after a while. This also has to do with how long it takes for the series to come out and the fact that I don’t reread before the next book. I feel like I love the first book and my love for it lessens until finally I’m just reading the third book because I feel like I owe it to the series. 

     I’m not saying that I won’t read trilogies. Many of the books in YA are trilogies and I do enjoy them, but I found that in general I will love a standalone, duology, or series more often, and with more loyalty, than I will a trilogy.

     Am I the only odd-ball or have you noticed it as well? Are there any other series that seem to fit the patterns that I listed above?