Dishonor on Your Cow! | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, in which every Tuesday we list ten things (or more, or less) about that week's topic. This week's topic is books which have brought dishonor upon you and your cow, or just your huge TBR that never ever seems to get smaller. I prefer the dishonor part more. So, on to the books that have been on my TBR forever, and probably will be for a while longer.

1. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Here's a funny story: when Laura was around thirteen years old she got into the habit of reading because she realized that you defined cool and reading was, in her book, definitely cool. As such, she had no idea about series and whatnot. So she picked up the third book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy and read it all, figuring this people might have a complicated history that happened off the page.

Only when she reached the end did she realize this was, in fact, a trilogy. Cue the understanding and confusion and the insatiable need for revenge upon the books that had mocked her. She would read them all and uncover their secrets and finally unravel the complicated story.

She has since then read the first book but hasn't gotten around to the second one, thus bringing dishonor on herself and all her loved ones.

2. The Boy In the Stripped Pajamas

Here's another story: when Laura was thirteen (thirteen year old Laura had issues, clearly) she watched this book's adaptation in her world history class. She loved the movie, always being one with a knack for the tragic and the unavoidable. 

Also, nothing beats watching a movie at school, even if it was during her favorite class: history. She wanted to be a historian, thirteen year old Laura.

She watched the movie and she cried with everyone else and when she learned it was based on a book she vowed to read the book and bawl her eyes out while she did that, too.

As you can guess, she still hasn't read this book. She regrets this in the confines of her soul, yet she doesn't see herself picking this book up anytime soon. Someday, maybe.

3. Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley

We continue our story with fourteen year old Laura, who at this point is a little bit more experienced in the reading realm and an avid reader of anything that promises to make her squeal. She valiantly added this book to her TBR.

If you ask her what it's about, she cannot tell you for too much time has passed, but she can say it sounded cute. She can also say she liked the cover back when she was yet inexperienced and might still find it a bit quirky.

She promised to buy this book every time she bought books, yet never did get around to it. Had she bought it when she said she would, she wouldn't bear the shame and disgrace she does for having this book in her TBR for seven years now.

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Fifteen year old Laura had transformed herself into an avid reader. Granted, she had reread the Twilight series way more times than anyone should, but she still had a heart full of hope and a mind to challenge herself.

Challenge herself she did when she read Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion for one of her classes. She figured the only logical step was to move on to the Bronte sisters.

She did this and devoured Wuthering Heights (this might or might not have something to do with Twilight) and longed to pick up Jane Eyre.

Her desire was only fueled when she found her Mom raptly watching the movie. However, Laura never got around to actually picking up the book, not even when she planned to read it for the BookTubeAThon and that my friends, is one of Laura's lowest moments.

5. Fuse by Julianna Baggot

We find Laura changed, at sixteen. Ripped from the only home she's ever known she has turned to books with renewed hunger. She has started to pick up books and series and has been reading and living between the pages like a starving woman.

She finds, almost by casualty, book 1 in the Pure Trilogy. She picks it up and she loves it and she decides she needs the next one like she needs air.

She searches for it, to no avail. She doesn't find it, so she gives up hope. Until eventually, the book fades from her memory and the details of the first book become murky.

She remembers the book when she sees it in bookstores and she things that perhaps, she should buy it. Perhaps she should just do it and stop bringing dishonor on everything she loves. She thinks, but she doesn't do.

And thus, Laura keeps adding books to her TBR and never reading them. The dishonor seems to be eternal, to loom forever over her and all she holds dear. She will never stop, for books bring her happiness and although her TBR is extensive she has good intentions at heart.

The Way We Bared Our Souls by Willa Strayhorn | Review

Thursday, August 18, 2016
Title: The Way We Bared Our Souls
Author: Willa Strayhorn
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 22nd, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
If you could trade your biggest burden for someone else’s, would you do it?
Five teenagers sit around a bonfire in the middle of the New Mexico desert. They don’t know it yet, but they are about to make the biggest sacrifice of their lives. Lo has a family history of MS, and is starting to come down with all the symptoms. Thomas, a former child soldier from Liberia, is plagued by traumatic memories of his war-torn past. Kaya would do anything to feel physical pain, but a rare condition called CIP keeps her numb. Ellen can’t remember who she was before she started doing drugs. Kit lost his girlfriend in a car accident and now he just can’t shake his newfound fear of death. When they trade totems as a symbol of shedding and adopting one another’s sorrows, they think it’s only an exercise. But in the morning, they wake to find their burdens gone…and replaced with someone else’s.

What I thought

I will always show up for magical realism, but this one disappointed me. I was expecting to walk away loving this book, but I walked away feeling meh about it.

The first chapter was intriguing and it piqued my interest quite fast, but I found it dwindling as the book moved along. For one, the coyote guy with his mystical coyote seemed far-fetched and kind of forced. Also, kind of a lot of spiritual mumble jumble that I just couldn't get behind not because of my own religious views but because it all seemed pretty forced. A thing I've learned about magical realism is that the magic can't feel forced and for this book it felt everything but natural.

The aspect I liked the most about the book was that there were some beautiful passages. Writing wise sometimes the words just took my breath away, but in the over all context of the story they didn't feel quite right and they felt like something that had been included in just for lyrical aspect instead of actually bringing something to the story, the plot or the character development.

The relationship between our five protagonists also felt forced at times and I didn't really grow to care for them that much. Sure, their situation was messed up and they all had something to carry (as we all do) but I didn't really feel connected to them.

There's a Native American aspect to this book, as well, and I don't think it's my place to speak of it since I'm not Native American nor am I well informed on the matter, but sometimes I felt kind of cringey about it. That might just be me, I don't know. This book did have Native American characters and it also had the use of Spanish, which were two good points, in my book.

I thought I was going to enjoy this book way more than I actually did and there were some things in here I wasn't comfortable with or that I just didn't like.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone | Review

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Title: Wanderlost
Author: Jen Malone
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe. Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe. Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story. But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

What I thought

Wanderlost is the kind of story that warms the heart and makes you squeal and want to grab your things and backpack across Europe, stat. In my book, those are all the qualities I want in a book about traveling through Europe, even under a false identity and as a tour guide of a bunch of adorable (if somewhat inappropriate) elder citizens.

This book opens up with a freshly graduated Aubree, insecure and set in her ways, only to have to help her older "perfect" sister along. Reluctantly, but also excited to be of help to her sister. I say this because start Aubree is so different to the Aubree in the end and to go along in her journey was my privilege. Her character development was simply stellar and so heartwarming and such a beautiful thing to watch. Watching her struggle, but also thriving in the face of adversity was so fun and I felt like a proud sister watching her go.

The supporting cast of characters is equally lovable and wonderful. Her group of senior citizens was so lovely and funny and sometimes inappropriate as only old people could be. Two best friends, one reluctant passenger, a perpetual honey-moon couple, a true gentleman and a very cute boy all made this journey all that much exciting. It was simply a wonderful ride, even among invented tour information and loss.

Another thing I loved was the sister relationship between Aubree and Elizabeth. I, myself, have a six year gap between us and while we love each other there are moments in which our six year gap is this big glaring in your face thing we can't get over no matter how hard we try. So, the fact that Aubree and Elizabeth felt the very same thing to me, was really awesome and significant.

The romance, too, was simply adorable and cute and just the right amount of angsty. Also, I'm entirely convinced there's nothing that can't be improved by the European background. It's like for us non-Europeans it holds this air of romance and magic that just can't be escaped. Also, Sam is just an absolute gem. I mean it, the guy is so cute and adorable and even kind of dorky, I just cannot with life. Their romance made me squeal more than once.

As you can probably tell by this review I loved this book. It was the perfect summer read, in my opinion. It was light-hearted, yet heartfelt and it was a journey of growth and finding confidence in yourself and others. The cute guy helped, but I was in it because Aubree.

Ain't Nobody Messing With My Clique | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, in which every Tuesday we list ten things (or more, or less) about that week's topic. This week's topic is a blast from the past, meaning you go back and look at previous Top Ten Tuesday topics and chose one. For this one I'm taking it way back to 2010 and telling you all about my fictional clique.

1. The Dregs

This ragtag band of thieves and me would hit it off, I'm sure of it. When I read Six of Crows last year I couldn't even imagine how much I would grow to love all of the Dregs. All. Of. Them. They're my babies and I will fight for them.

2. Clark Bruce McCallister

Have you met Clark McCallister from The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson? If not, let me tell you that he is a cinnamon roll and a huge dork and he is worthy of my friendship. Also, I just realized he is literally named after both Superman and Batman. Super dorky, this one.

3. Iko

Iko from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is fashionable, funny, and loyal to a fault. Also she's super smart, comes with being an android and all, and she is just a gem. Totally worthy to form part of my clique. 

4. Terra Cooper

Terra, from North of Beautiful, is my homegirl and I will protect her with my life. Also, she's super cool and beautiful and lovely. Also, flawed, but that's okay because everyone is. We can be best friends and have deep conversations about the world and also cute boys because it's totally okay to do both.

5. Brigan

Brigan is my favorite Graceling Realms man, although I love Po so much I could die and Saf can go die somewhere far far away from me. He is kind and caring and so loving and just a really stand up human being. He also has armies he can command at my bequest. So, there's that.

6. Rhysand

Rhysand from the ACoTAR series by Sarah J. Maas is my babe. I've even written another Top Ten Tuesday exclusively on his person. I gush about him every chance I get because he's great. Not only can he be the eye candy to our group but he can be the dude that instills the ever living fear of god into our enemies. Also he can be our Dad because of how caring he is.

7. Quintana of Charryn

Have you ever heard of my homegirl Quintana? If you haven't, you need to go get yourself The Lumatere Chronicles and then proceed on to read every single Melina Marchetta book out there. Back to Quintana, though, she is in this wonderful list because of how fiercely royal she is. Also, she's kinda crazy but I love that about her. Also, she's brutally honest and determined and she's just great all around. 

8. Ryan Dean West

Winger is one of my all time fave books because of how funny it is. Ryan is straight up one of the funniest guys in YA out there and that alone makes him worth it of being in this glorious list of awesomeness. He can bring up group morale with a joke, or just straight up destroy it with a witty remark. Either way, he's great fun to have around.

9. Isabelle Lightwood

I love Isabelle. There's plenty other reasons for her being in this list like her sense of humor, her fashion sense, her loyalty, complexity and just her being, really. She has got to be a part of any squad I ever form. It is known.

10. Fire

In her self-titled biography, Fire is one kick-ass lady monster. Who is also kind and beautiful and good with a bow and an arrow. Also, she can provide musical entretainment and just her general goodness. She is the best of us all, truly and honestly. Everyone else in this (except maybe Terra) list is kind of a jerk, because that's how I roll, but Fire is truly the moral compass of our group.

These are my fictional besties, and they're all great and together we are going to rule the world. MUAHAHAHA!

Monthly Wrap Up | July 2016

Thursday, August 4, 2016

July is over. Say what?! That means I did some reading, posted some things on the blog, participated in a readathon and binge watched some Running Man and squealed a lot over We Got Married. By now I'm sure my neighbors think I'm crazy, but to each their own.

Books read

1. Addicted For Now by Becca & Krista Ritchie
2. Kiss the Sky by Becca & Krista Ritchie
3. Hothouse Flower by Becca & Krista Ritchie
4. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

5. The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
6. Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
7. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
8. The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

9. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
10. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
11. Wanderlost by Jen Malone

On the blog