Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daisy Talks About Reading Outside

So basically this looks like a little bit of heaven to me. I would sink in one of those chairs and just read, read, read all day until some friendly person reminded me that it's time to get some no doubt yummy food. I imagine things like tapas and cocktails or sangria or something juicy with banana and such...

But I digress.

What I meant to talk about is reading in lovely, sunny places. Which can either be your backyard or your balcony or this perfect little piece of the beach.
I love reading outside. I love sitting out in the sunshine and bask in the warmth and read all day long. It's my happy place. I mean, I love sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket, but there's just something about reading outside that just feels so special. Maybe because it's not all that often that I get to do it.

But stories also feel more real to me when I'm reading them outside. I'm not sure why that is, but everything feels stronger somehow and just has more of an impact. Do any of you recognize this feeling?

Also, I'm just excited that Spring is showing its pretty face again! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday -- 10 Inspiring Quotes from Books

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!



Jamie's picks

1. “She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.” -- Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

It was just such an empowering statement. Really the whole series inspires me to be a little more badass, a little more confident, even stronger, etc. Be ferociously unapologetic when it comes to fighting for what I want in my life.

2. “The brick walls (in life) are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -- The Last Lecture by Randy Paucsh

This whole book was pretty inspiring and I did a lot of dog-earring. Lots of wisdom from a guy who is giving his "last lecture" because he knows he is going to die soon.

3. “Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?” Finnikin of the Rock

If you love fantasy, you MUST read this trilogy from Melina Marchetta.  I just loved this quote so much because WORDS WORDS WORDS. They are important. They are everything.

4. “Books light the fire—whether it’s a book that’s already written, or an empty journal that needs to be filled in.” ― Meg Wolitzer, Belzhar


5. “It's easy to forget to look up when all you do is focus on the road straight ahead.”-- Golden by Jessi Kirby

Truth be told I could have done a whole top ten list just from this book. It's so inspiring and challenging and provoked something within me. This was one of those reminders I needed for sure.

Bridget's Picks

6. “I am too fond of reading books to care to write them.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

For YEARS, my dad has been convinced that one day I’ll be an author. And almost every time he’s brought it up, I’ve more or less paraphrased the above quotation. Just because I like reading books doesn’t mean I think I have any aptitude at all to write them (although the recent publication of crap like 50 Shades of Gray has made me want to try my hand at it, because if effing E. L. James can get three books published and made into movies, why can’t I???).

7. “Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?" Mo had said..."As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells...and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower...both strange and familiar.” ― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

I’ve never read Inkspell, but now I want to. This quote is so true; when I reread something, I always find myself remembering how I felt the last time I read it. It can be jarring, but it’s also kind of amazing how certain words in a certain order can bring back such solid memories, sometimes not even related to the book. 

 Kimberly's Picks 

8. "There are moments when you can't believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with knowing absolutely that something wonderful is happening." Rainbow Rowell ~ Attachments

I just love the optimism of this. Wonderful things happen! Sometimes we don't even know that it's happening right then. Other times... you just know. That moment of "wonderful" will stick with you forever. 

9.  "... People who create. People whose souls no longer live in their bodies because they've leached so much of themselves into their work." Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

This made me even more determined to keep doing the things I love. Theatre. Put everything you have into what you love. It will start to affect everyone else. Ever listen to a song that someone put their heart and soul into? You can't help but FEEL that! Or looked at a painting. Or watched a performance. Their very essence becomes part of what they make.

 10. "How is it possible that my crush -- my three-year-long crush-- has a  crush on me? This doesn't happen in real life." -- Stephanie Perkins ~ Isla and the Happily Ever After

This quote is so adorable, but it also has special meaning to me. I read this EXACTLY five months ago, literally the night before my wedding. It's how I felt about my now husband. I'd had a crush on him for five years (so did he, apparently) when he finally asked me out! I highlighted this and posted it to instagram. Roughly 10ish hours before I married my 5+ year long crush. <3 

Tell us your favorite inspiring quotes from books!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 3/29 - 4/11

Daisy's Book Haul

(also features a curious kitty-ear ;) )
-Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne Vol 1 by Arina Tanemura: see how I listen to your manga recommendations?? I'm really excited to start this soon!
-Simon vs The Home Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: this one got so many votes when I asked for fluffy contemporary recs that I just HAD to order it :)
-What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick: I own, but haven't read her books yet, but everyone basically keeps raving about it. So...
-It Started With a Scandal by Julie Anne Long: I love Julie Anne Long's writing! She usually brings all the swoons and I love that!
-Four Nights With the Duke by Eloisa James: same goes for Eloisa James! Her historical romance novels are insta-adds to my TBR list and shopping cart.
-The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: the same basically goes for Emery Lord as for Huntley Fitzpatrick, I have to get in on this action!
-Death Note Vol 1 by Tsugumi Ohba: this was another one of the recs when Jana asked for manga recommendations and now it's in my home :)
-Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: this might just make one my book club buddy Daph happy ;) It was a total impulse buy while browsing through the book store a week ago.
-Blood Song by Anthony Ryan: I came across Blood Song's sequel while I was looking for some other book and was like GIVE IT TO ME NOOOOOWWWW! So I ordered it. I have no self-restraint.

Egalleys for review:
-Hunter by Mercedes Lackey: I have a bit of a hit or miss relationship with Mercedes Lackey's books, but this sounds awesome!
-A Whole New World by Liz Braswell: confession: Aladdin is one of my favourite Disney movies and I will forever read any and all retellings of this story.
-The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret: Vivienne Lorret knows how to give me a swoony historical romance. I will read this.
-Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson: she travels through other people's dreams. How can this be anything but fantastic??
-Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas: another fairy tale retelling and I am just hooked by the premise!
-Dumplin' by Julie Murphy: "the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body". I need this spunky MC in my life!
-Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: NEW SERIES BY RAE CARSON, ALL THE EXCITEMENT!!! Obviously I couldn't help but click the request button the minute I saw this pop up on Edelweiss!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Julia reviews The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Title/Author: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Publisher/Year Published:  June 2014 by Mulholland
How I got this book: My coworker let me borrow it
Rating: 4.5 stars

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...

Well the second book did not disappoint, that's for sure! I don't read a lot of mystery or crime but I really enjoy this series. I only mention that I dont read a lot of it because I have heard that this series doesnt hold up for people who are like diehard crime fans. But I enjoy it.

The funny thing about this series is Galbraith manages to give me all the clues to figure out who did it and then manages to convince me that I am wrong and it cannot be that person at all! I bounce back and forth between people more than a pinball.

As much praise as I have for this book and the series, I have to say that some of the characterization is a little flat on people who are not Strike (the lead). Strike is a great hero. I love how his mind works and following him as he figures it all out for himself. But Robin, the second lead, has only a minuscule amount of development. Hopefully the next book (which I am assuming with happen) gives us more development for her than relationship problems.

The other thing that is sort of problematic is the repetition of some of the facts to the point where it is like, "I get it. He has no leg" or something. It had me skimming a bit.

But I honestly enjoy the hell out of this series. I get sucked in so quickly and just enjoy the ride the book takes me on.

It's nice to know that Rowling is still having a big impact on the books that I enjoy.

Cross-posted somewhat to my Booklikes blog. And for those of you who do not know, Robert Galbraith is another pseudonym for JK Rowling.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Let’s Make A Deal!

Yesterday, I (Bridget) talked about deal-breakers when it comes to the books I read. Now let’s talk about some dealmakers! Like I said yesterday, I’m pretty picky with the books and genres that I read, but there are a few things that will always inspire me to pick up a book!

1. Comparisons to books I like. I’m not proud of this, because I think comparing every new thriller written by a woman in the past few years to Gone Girl does everyone a disservice for a variety of reasons, but dang does it make it easy to pick books. I requested Above through NetGalley for its comparisons to Room and The Lovely Bones; I picked up The Glittering World in part because of its comparisons to TheOcean at the End of the Lane. I picked up The Never List and The SilentWife in part because of their comparisons to Gone Girl.

2. Published by a certain author. We all have auto-buy lists; mine, until recently has been pretty short, only consisting of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling. But in the past few years, I’ve added Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and several other authors to my auto-buy list. In the case of most of these authors, I’ve read several of their books and enjoyed them all; the only exception, currently, is Ms. Hawkins, whose debut novel The Girl on the Train was nothing short of amazing. I’ll definitely be first in line to buy her next novel, whatever it is!

3. Horror/thriller elements. I’m not going to buy every horror or thriller novel ever, of course, but having those elements definitely adds a lot of points in a book’s favor. It’s hard to say exactly which of these elements and in what combinations will always make me pick up a book, but here are a few that come to mind:

- disease pandemics a la The Stand
- “Race against the clock” type stories, a la Tick Tock, Ready Player One
- Man versus wilderness/impossible survival, a la The Martian

There are a lot of others, but they’re a little bit too nebulous to put into words. It’s sort of like that judge said about obscenity: I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

4. Good reviews by bloggers I know and trust. That’s not to say I’ll read every book any blogger I read ever likes, but blogging as part of a community means learning your fellow bloggers’ taste in books, and there are definitely a few whose reviews I almost always trust—especially because there are so few bloggers who review primarily non-YA, so when I find one, I almost immediately follow them. (Sorry, is that creepy?) I have a smaller pool to choose from than most bloggers, but it’s sort of nice because it’s not as overwhelming.

(I’d like to note that, at this point in writing, I was having trouble coming up with a fifth dealmaker so I asked my husband what he’d look for in a book if he was buying me a book that wasn’t on my wish list. After I shot down a few things he suggested, he got frustrated and said, “I don’t know why you like the books you like!” Me neither, friend. Me neither.)

5. Good covers. I know you should never judge a book by its cover, and I don’t usually judge by a cover on its own, but a good cover can definitely increase a book’s odds of ending up in my bag. Similarly, a bad cover can kill a book’s chances of ever ending up on my shelves. Again, it’s hard to quantify exactly what makes a good or bad cover, but I know it when I see it!

What are your deal-makers?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bridget Talks Deal-Breakers.

I’m a picky person. I’m a picky eater (getting better, though); I’m a picky music-listener; and I’m incredibly picky about what I read. Blogging has really helped me expand my horizons, particularly through things like year-long reading challenges and getting to read ARCs. I also love getting to see reviews of books I probably would never have heard of if not for this amazing blogging community!

Though I certainly read more diversely now than I did a few years ago, there are a few things that have remained deal-breakers in my reading life. Here are some of the worst offenders, and let me know what yours are in the comments!

1. Fragments, fragments everywhere! Fragments, though not something you’d want to put in an essay, are often acceptable as a stylistic choice for creative writing. They particularly make sense in dialogue, because real-life dialogue is rarely ever grammatical the way writing is. But when there are more than two fragments in a row, or more than three or so to a page (on average), it gets a little tiresome. I’ve particularly noticed this in YA series like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but it’s also come up (and bugged me severely) in adult novels like The Silent Girls.

2. Love triangles, or really any superfluous romance in general. There’s a reason I don’t read romance novels: they’re full of clich├ęs, they’re unrealistic at best and harmful at worst (looking at you, Fifty Shades), and frankly, they’re BORING because you know exactly how they’re going to end. (Okay, I guess there are several reasons I don’t read romance novels.) I don’t need books to have absolutely no romance whatsoever, because that’s almost impossible to find these days, but I quite appreciate when romance takes a back seat to whatever else is happening in the story.

That’s not to say that I don’t like stories about love, because I do, and I’ve read a bunch of books recently that focus on love greater than that between two people (The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Glittering World in particular come to mind). But romance is something I’m much less interested in.

3. Bad or nonexistent editing. I’m not talking about in ARCs, either; I’m talking about actual published works. A typo here or there is excusable—I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I haven’t found a typo at some point—but willy nilly errors in tense or forgetting a verb in a sentence is totally unforgivable. I just read The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad and while the story was okay the writing was unthinkably bad, so this particular deal-breaker is sort of close to the surface of my mind at the moment.

4. Pretension. Ugghhhh this has got to be one of the worst things to deal with as a reader: an author’s unstoppable pretension. Of course, everyone interprets writing differently, so our definitions of pretension might differ. I’m thinking along the lines of Jonathan Safran Foer, whose every word just oozes “look how smart I am!” Similarly, James Joyce and his utterly incomprehensible (except to the elite few, of course) writing make my blood boil.

Something I’ve never understood is why writers write if they don’t want people to understand what they’re saying. What was Joyce’s goal in writing Ulysses so that it was absolutely inaccessible to anyone at all except himself (and eventually Joyce scholars who studied every minute aspect of his life in order to understand it)? I can’t help but think that he must have thought so much of himself for publishing this impenetrable novel that scholars have puzzled over for decades. Either that or he’s been punking us for almost a hundred years now.

5. Character-driven stories versus plot-driven stories. Don’t get me wrong; great characters make a book. But I want a plot, too. I want exciting things to happen—the scarier the better (I’m a huge horror junkie). I think this is maybe why I didn’t like The Virgin Suicides as much as I wanted to or as much as I expected to based on what I’d heard about it; it’s mainly a character study of the five Lisbon sisters by a group of boys who lived in the same neighborhood. Things happen, but it’s not exactly exciting.

The one exception I’ve found to this rule so far is J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. There wasn’t a whole lot of plot there either, but the characters were just so incredibly drawn that, after a while, it was impossible not to be invested in their stories. (Of course, it took me about 200 pages to get invested, so I don’t blame you if you quit before that.)

6. Getting hit over the head with the author’s morals or politics or anything that I didn’t actually pick up the book for. Like I said above, I read primarily for plot; I don’t want to be proselytized to. All stories have morals, of course, and all authors have biases. But if your bias is glaringly obvious, I’m either not going to read your book or, if I do read it, I’m probably not going to review it very well. 

What are your deal breakers when it comes to books? 
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