Top Ten Tuesday 12

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week a new top ten list is posted, and to participate all you have to do is fill in YOUR top ten for the list. This week’s list is:

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren’t Books) That I’d Like To Own (new bookshelves, bookends, cool bookmarks, a bookish shirt, etc. You can add things you DO own if you want.)

1. The Great Gatsby sweatshirt

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I have seen this so many times and my desire to own it grows each time I see it. I love Out of Print Clothing to begin with, but this is definitely one that I would LOVE to have in my closet.

2. Pride and Prejudice shirt/sweatshirt

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I love this design so much. Out of Print Clothing even has the shirt in purple!

3. Nancy Drew shirt

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I’m a huge Nancy Drew fan, so obviously this is something I’d love to own.

4. My Shelves Runneth Over sleepshirt

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It’s accurate and the art is cute.

5. Portal bookends

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I totally love Portal, and I think these bookends are just really cool.

6. Alice in Wonderland artwork

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These are really cool and some of my favorite illustrations and I’d love to have them as prints to hang on my wall.

7. Mini Book Necklaces

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These are so cute, I’d love to have a lot of different ones.

8. Direwolf bookends

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Obviously I am a huge Game of Thrones fan, and these bookends would be FABULOUS.

9. Game of Thrones Night’s Watch Oath Poster

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I think it would be cool to have this.

10. Game of Thrones Westeros & Essos Map

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I really like maps.

W…W…W…Wednesday 38

www_wednesdays42W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve finished reading Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket, and The Elite by Kiera Cass.

I’m currently reading Sekret by Lindsay Smith. I’ve actually been neglecting it the last couple of days because we just got puppies so I’ve been very distracted.

Up next I’m planning on reading Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige.

Book Review: The Elite

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eliteTitle: The Elite
Series: The Selection (Book 2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Romance
Summary: “Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.” ~from Goodreads.com

*Minor spoilers are in this review*

You ever have one of those books that you think is going to be great because the first book was so good? But then you read it and you’re like WTF because everything kind of changes and you’re conflicted because the first book was so good but this one isn’t as good? This is one of those books for me.

The Selection totally blew me away and I loved every second of it. I was rooting for America and Maxon to get together, I was kind of over Aspen, I loved Marlee and I completely connected with America and thought she was great. The Elite left me feeling incredibly conflicted. Don’t get me wrong, the book is great, but it’s not as good as the first book and I felt like so many characters changed so drastically that I wound up being really angry at a lot of them.

Let’s start at the top: America was awesome in the first book. She was tough without being over-the-top, relatable, and individual without being cheesy or annoying. This book, she cried. A lot. I get that Cass was trying to show that the whole situation was stressful, and that America was struggling with the whole Maxon vs. Aspen debate, but honestly I felt like the spark that was there in the first book was completely gone with this second book. I got irritated by the “do I choose Maxon or Aspen” thing whereas in the first book I really sympathized (even though I wanted her to choose Maxon). And she cried. A lot. Did I mention that? We didn’t get to see much of Marlee, which is explained, but I feel like that’s a crime because Marlee is such a fabulous character and she’s so integral to America’s personality and growth that I really feel she should have been more prevalent throughout the book. Oh, and Maxon and Aspen became utter assholes. Sorry if that’s harsh but my god. Aspen practically shoves himself down America’s throat with his whole “I love you choose me please please please.” And Maxon basically tells America that she has to change her entire personality to stay and also that he loves her but then he hooks up with Kriss and Celeste??? WHAT?! By the end of the book I just wanted America to take Marlee and run off to join the Italian princess to come up with a kick-ass all-female monarchy because HOLY CRAP I was so angry at everyone. Honestly, I don’t want America to choose Maxon OR Aspen at this point. The two of them can be fed to the wolves for all I care.

Love is beautiful fear. (62)

Despite my rant, here’s something I loved and wished I’d seen more of: the rebels. I LOVED the furthering of that plot, and I really wish there was more to it, because I’d have loved to have seen more of that political aspect than reading about America having yet another breakdown. I also liked that we get to see how much of an asshole the king is. Because at least he’s supposed to be an asshole, unlike some other characters (lookin’ at you Maxon). I also liked that America finds out more about the truth behind Illea’s development. I think it’s such a great plot line and it’s developing incredibly well and I can’t wait to see the resolution to it in the third book (which, yes, I will be reading). I think Cass is doing a great job with the whole political aspect of the book. I just wish we could see more of it. I’m really hoping that the third book has more of that to it. There were some also really shocking moments in the book that were well done. There’s a certain scene involving Marlee that had me practically in tears. Those were well done scenes.

Despite my anger over some of the character’s development, I’m really excited to see how this all ends (although like I said above, I’m kind of hoping America just runs off to Italy with Marlee). I’m hoping that the characters don’t make me want to punch them in the face though. Though I suppose it’s a good book that can get such an emotional response out of me.

My rating: ★★★★

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Book Review: File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

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file underTitle: File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents
Series: All The Wrong Questions #2.5
Author: Lemony Snicket
Pages: 259
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult
Summary: “Match wits with Lemony Snicket to solve thirteen mini-mysteries.
Paintings have been falling off of walls, a loud and loyal dog has gone missing, a specter has been seen walking the pier at midnight — strange things are happening all over the town of Stain’d-By-The-Sea. Called upon to investigate thirteen suspicious incidents, young Lemony Snicket collects clues, questions witnesses, and cracks every case. Join the investigation and tackle the mysteries alongside Snicket, then turn to the back of the book to see the solution revealed.

A delicious read that welcomes readers into Lemony Snicket’s world of deep mystery, mysterious depth, deductive reasoning, and reasonable deductions.” ~from Goodreads.com

This isn’t actually the next installment in the All The Wrong Questions series, but it does take place in the same town and with the same characters. This consists of 13 short stories that allow you to guess the answer. I pretty much buy anything that has Lemony Snicket’s name attached to it, because I love everything he writes. I wasn’t totally sure what exactly I was in for with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by it.

I enjoyed the book. It was fun to try and solve the mysteries and I enjoyed seeing the characters that are in All The Wrong Questions and get a little more insight into them. It was the usual brand of Snicket wittiness and humor and I really liked reading it. I enjoyed each of the mysteries and I thought they were all clever and well done. Some of the mysteries were more obvious than others, but I thought they were all fun. It was nice to see some of the old characters (Moxie, Jake Hix, Pip and Squeak, even Stew and his parents), and there were some characters that were new.

This is definitely a good book to read while you wait for the next installment of ATWQ, and it’s made me want the third book even more.

My Rating: ★★★★

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Book Review: Hollow City

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hollow citryTitle: Hollow City
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children (Book 2)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Pages: 396
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Summary: “The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience.” ~from Goodreads.com

I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and I was really excited to get my hands on the second book. It took me a few months to finally get around to reading it, but I enjoyed Hollow City immensely. Probably actually a smidgen more than the first book.

I really liked the progression of all the characters in this book, and I was really happy that we got to see more of them in action this time around. I liked the way the relationships were explored, and I actually really got into the Jacob/Emma romance, which I’d been hesitant about in the first book.

‘Did you ever find yourself climbing into an open grave during a bombing raid,’ I said, ‘and just wish you’d stayed in bed?’ (239)

I also think Riggs did a really good job of incorporating more of the war into the story, and I liked the new characters that we met along the way. It was really cool to see some new peculiar children and their abilities, even if a few of them didn’t stick around for very long. I loved Addison and I was sorry that he didn’t play more of a role in this book, but it seems like he’ll be there in the third book (which I can’t wait to read!!).

The ending though. Oh my goodness that ending. I basically gaped at my book in disbelief throughout that ending because it was such a shocking twist and there were so many things that happened. I couldn’t put the book down. It was just AMAZING, and I have to get my hands on the third book like NOW. I can’t wait to find out what happens–no. I NEED to find out what happens.

I definitely loved this book, and I think it’s even better than the first one, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in book three.

My rating: ★★★★★

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W…W…W…Wednesdays 37

www_wednesdays42W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

I only finished two books since last Wednesday: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente and The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price by Wendy Jones.

I’m currently reading Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (finally) and I’m hoping to finish that up today.

I got a bunch of new books recently so I’m going to be working my way through those, but I’m definitely going to be reading The Elite (book 2 of the Selection series) by Kiera Cass with Scatty this weekend. If I manage to finish Hollow City today, I’ll probably try and squeeze in File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket before starting on The Elite. After that, Sekret by Lindsay Smith is up next. I’m trying to read every day because I’m 17 books behind schedule on my reading challenge according to Goodreads and that’s just shameful.

April Reads

So, this month I’ve decided to not do a specific thing (so no Random Reads or anything) because that’s basically crashed and burned every time I’ve attempted to do it.

I am currently reading Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (finally! I only bought this like 3 months ago…) so I’m hoping to finish that up within the next couple of days.

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I’d also like to get through these books this month:

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  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
  • The Rich and the Dead by Liv Spector
  • William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher
  • Wool by Hugh Howey

I would like to read more if I can, but at minimum these are the books I plan on reading this month.

I didn’t do the genre challenge for last month, but I would like to attempt to do this month because it’s Fantasy. Obviously some of the books I’m reading are fantasy so they’d count, but I would really like to read A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I want to read this book soon anyway just so I don’t forget everything that happened in the previous book(s). So, hopefully I’ll tackle this beast sometime this month.

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So that’s all the books I plan on reading this month. What are you guys hoping to read?

March Wrap Up

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So, this month I actually read a decent amount of books and I feel like I’m finally emerging out of the reading rut that seemed to have been plaguing me for a few months now. So, the books I read this month were:

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  • That Touch of Magic by Lucy March
  • Laura by Vera Caspary
  • The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun by Sebastian Japrisot
  • One Deadly Summer by Sebastian Japrisot
  • Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper
  • Bedelia by Vera Caspary
  • The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones

I also bought a really terrible amount of books this month. So I am going to attempt to limit myself for next months because it was really kind of crazy. The books I bought this month were:

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  • Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
  • Trap For Cinderella by Sebastian Japrisot
  • Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
  • Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell
  • The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell
  • Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

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  • Laura by Vera Caspary
  • The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun by Sebastian Japrisot
  • One Deadly Summer by Sebastian Japrisot
  • Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper
  • Bedelia by Vera Caspary
  • The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones

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  • The 10:30 From Marseille by Sebastian Japrisot
  • Panic by Lauren Oliver
  • Half Bad by Sally Green
  • A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante
  • The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter

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  • The Rich and the Dead by Liv Spector
  • William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher
  • Wool by Hugh Howey
  • The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

My mom also gave me two books that she had replaced in hardcover:

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  • Wicked Company by Ciji Ware
  • Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware

So that’s all the books I got this month. I’m going to try and exert more control in April on the buying books front. I’m also hoping I can get more books read in April.

Book Review: The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price

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wilfred priceTitle: The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals
Author: Wendy Jones
Pages: 272
Genre: Historical fiction
Summary: “Under the heady influence of a springtime picnic and vague notions of obligation, young undertaker Wilfred Price blurts out a marriage proposal to a woman he barely knows. Much to his consternation, she says yes. As Wilfred attempts to extricate himself from the situation, his betrothed’s overbearing father presents further complications. And when Wilfred meets another woman he does wish to marry, a comedy of manners ensues. Set in rural Wales during the 1920s, Wendy Jones’s charming first novel is a deceptive, subtly humorous entrance to the mores and social conventions of a world gone by.” ~from Goodreads.com

I was intrigued by this book because it was set in 1920s Wales and it seemed like that would be an interesting time period to read about (and also I haven’t read any other books set in that time period so it was new for me). I have some mixed feelings about the book though. I really did enjoy it, but I felt like there were a lot of really unlikeable characters, it was draggy in a lot of places, and I felt a little unsatisfied with how one of the character’s story arc ended.

I found it difficult to connect with Wilfred Price himself just because he was kind of on the boring side. I didn’t dislike him, and I wound up liking him a lot better later on in the book, but to begin with I just didn’t really care about him. Grace was okay, but she was a very weak character (not in the way that she was written poorly, but in the way that she was written to be weak) and that became frustrating after a while. Her parents I absolutely detested, especially her mother, and every time they were on the page I wanted to scream because they were so awful. Flora and Wilfred’s father were the only two characters that I actually really liked.

Mrs. Reece would consider telephoning a gentleman, even if he were one’s fiancé, extremely forward. (23)

I found that around the middle portion the book really dragged and it became frustrating. I felt like the plot had sort of gotten away from the author and it took a while to sort of come back together. I also felt like there was a lot of unnecessary scenes that took time away from what I really wanted to get at. There just seemed to be a lot of scenes with no purpose to them and it really took away from the plot. I really liked the last portion of the book though because there was a lot more action and revelations and it seemed to move much more quickly.

The one thing I’m really disappointed about is how Grace’s story arc was handled. I totally understand that within the time period of the book, her options are incredibly limited, and on top of that her parents were written as these truly awful people (although her father sort of redeems himself at the end but only sort of), but I just felt like the way her story was resolved was actually by not resolving it at all.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I wanted to keep reading, but I found it unnecessarily slow in places and some of the characters really awful.

My rating: ★★★

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Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

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fairylandTitle: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making
Series: Fairyland Series (Book 1)
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Pages: 247
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Summary: “Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.” ~from Goodreads.com

I absolutely LOVED this book. I had been hearing a lot about it around the web and I finally went ahead and bought it, and I’m so glad I did, because it’s definitely one of my new favorites.

This book captures the magic of Alice’s travels in wonderland, and Dorothy’s trip to Oz and how you sometimes find the door to another world in the back of a wardrobe. It’s enchanting and charming and all around a great book. September is a great heroine and I absolutely adored her and rooted for her all the way through. I loved Ell (A-Through-L) the Wyverary (a Wyvern who thinks he’s part library! How great is that?!) and I loved Saturday the Marid, and Gleam the paper lantern. It’s just such a charming tale and all of the characters were fabulously written.

Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. (1)

The book is such a fun read, and it keeps you hooked all the way through. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out what happened next and how September was going to get out of her latest predicament. This book is like a slightly grown up version of all the fairy tales and adventure stories I read as a little kid, and I loved every moment of it. There are some nice nods to Alice and Dorothy and the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I just seriously loved this book, and I loved how intrepid our heroine was, and I just had such a great time reading this book. I was smiling and laughing, gasping and shouting, and just thoroughly enjoying myself. An A+ book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

My rating: ★★★★★

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