Teaser Tuesday · Top Ten Tuesdays

Teasers and Top Ten Lists

Welcome to another Tuesday! Today I have another Teaser, thanks to MizB at “Should Be Reading,” and another Top Ten List, thanks to the lovely folks at “The Broke and the Bookish.”

Teaser Tuesday

For Teaser Tuesday, the rules are simple:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here’s my teaser for the week:

“The first time she set foot in the Haven, she was a slave, wasting away from starvation and abuse . . . the next time Cora set foot in the Haven, she, too, was a Queen.”

Shadow’s Fall by Dianne Sylvan

These two phrases aren’t right next to each other like this, but I love the contrast between the two and how they simply, yet fully explain Cora’s character. I love this series so much, although I’m barely skimming over the first three in order to get my hands on book 4.

 

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On to Top Ten Tuesday.This week’s list is a bit difficult for me. It’s all about what draws you to a book, what will make you pick it up out of a whole shelf of others. The short answer for me – almost anything. I’m not very picky about what I read. I’ll give anything a go. Here are a few things that I do notice.

Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly

Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

1. haunted – What can I say? I like me a good ghost story.

2. ancient – I’ve read a few books set in an ancient time period, like the Roman Empire or Ancient Greece, and really enjoyed them.

3. King Arthur or Merlin – I am a sucker for a good Arthurian legend, especially if it’s a different retelling of some sort.

4. teenagers – As most of you know, I love reading Young Adult literature. I love reading about people with a different coming-of-age experience than mine. Helps me relive my youth.

5. fairies – If you believe in fairies, clap your hands! I’m especially fond of retellings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but any fairy story will do.

6. magic – If you like fantasy like I do, you have to like magic. I love reading stories with an interesting and different magic system.

7. strong female character – Gone are the days when we stepped aside for our male betters. Give me a good heroine who kicks butt any day!

8. Europe – I love books set in other places, and since I really want to explore the great cities of Europe one day (London, Paris, Rome, sigh), I love reading about them as well.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, although I’m sure there’s more.

 

Drabbles

Changes? Maybe?

I’m trying to work out a few things with the blog. For starters, as most of you probably noticed, the posts tend to fizzle out towards the end of the week. This is mostly for three reasons: 1. I run out of things to talk about, 2. I get tired, and 3. I schedule my harder posts for later in the week.

So what I think I’m going to do is this: Happiness Project posts will now be on Mondays. I’ll still do Top Ten Tuesday and Teaser Tuesdays on Tuesday, plus do WWW Wednesday on Wednesdays. Thursdays and Fridays will be devoted mostly to book reviews and the occasional post about writing.

As far as the Happiness Project goes . . . well, it hasn’t been going, really. I completely missed April, and now April is almost over. So what I will probably do is try combining goals for April and May and doing them at the same time. If that’s too messy, then I’ll just work a month behind, do April goals for May, and finish the project in January instead of December.

So that’s that. If there’s anything else that anyone would like to see me do on the blog, I am always open to suggestions!

Books I've Read · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday

www_wednesdays4Yay! I’m actually doing this on Wednesday instead of Thursday, like I did last week! Yesterday was a lot of fun on the blog. Got to hear from a whole bunch of people, so if you’ve found my blog from “Teaser Tuesday,” welcome!

Today’s post is likewise hosted by MizB at “Should Be Reading.” I really like this concept. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. Three questions, three answers.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading two books. One is Enchanter’s End Game by David Eddings, book 5 in his Belgariad series. As much as I love these books, I will be glad to be done with them so I can move on to other things. My reading has been bogged down by podcast stuff over at Bibliophiles Anonymous and book club stuff over at the Mallorean Tavern. I also started The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson, which I have been really looking forward to. It’s good so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finally, finally finished Abhorsen by Garth Nix. I have no idea why this book took me as long as it did. I enjoyed the book, and the series, but at the same time, I started to get tired of it towards the end. I don’t know why. At the same time, I didn’t want to give up reading it – I really hate doing that, and besides, I made it a goal that I wouldn’t just start a series and not follow through with it. This is the last published book in this series, so yay! The next book isn’t coming out until 2014, so I have plenty of time.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Technically, the next book on my TBR list is Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, but it will probably get bumped. I recently picked up Of Shadow Born by Dianne Sylvan, which is the fourth book in her Shadow World series. The last book ended on such a cliffhanger, it’s amazing that I’ve held out this long reading the new one. I’ll probably have to re-read the other books in the series, but they go by pretty fast. Anyone who loves vampires, but hates the sparkly Twilight stuff, should give these a read. They are sooooo good!

So that’s what I’ve read and am reading. What about you?

Teaser Tuesday · Top Ten Tuesdays

Tuesday Time!

I’m excited today, because I am starting a brand new weekly feature! Now, on Tuesdays, not only will I continue to do Top Ten Tuesdays with “The Broke and the Bookish,” but I will also do Teaser Tuesdays with MizB over at “Should Be Reading.” Yay!

Teaser Tuesday

Since this is new (for me anyway), here’s what you do:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Simple! Here’s mine for today:

Funny, isn’t it? People are scared of ghosts, ghosts are scared of people, when there’s no reason for any of it.” 

                       – Boo Chodhari, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

 

toptentuesdayNext up, Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s topic – books that were not what we expected. They can be either something we liked more that we thought we would, or something that was a huge disappointment. Here it goes!

Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like MORE/LESS Than I Did

Starting with the disappointments:

1. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – I don’t know what it was about this book, but I kept getting lost. Usually I love epic fantasy, but this one didn’t cut it for me. Which is sad, because I did like the setting and several of the characters. I just couldn’t get into it and embrace it fully.

2. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer – This will bring a few laughs, I’m sure. When these books became so popular, I knew I had to read them, just to see what all the fuss was about. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t understand why these books are such a big deal. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great either. Definitely not worth all the hype, in my opinion.

3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – I’ve mentioned this one before, both on the blog and the podcast. This book was recommended by someone who’s opinion I really value, but the actual reading was very disappointing. I spent the entire book being incredibly frustrated with the main character, which is a shame because lots of other things in the book were really cool.

4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Another epic fantasy that I expected to like a whole lot more than I did, that came recommended very highly. I don’t know why, but I just got bored through part of it. It wasn’t that the writing was bad or anything. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it when I was reading it.

5. City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams – There are very few books that I don’t finish. Even if I don’t like the book, I’ll probably still finish it just because. I loved the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, so I thought I’d give this series a go. Not worth it. The plot was confusing and gave me a headache.

Now the books I liked better than I thought I would:

6. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky – Going back to high school for this one. I dreaded having to read it. I mean, look at the title! But I quickly became immersed in Raskolnikov’s story and now it is one of my all time favorite books.

7. The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant – Another book(s) that I’ve mentioned several times before. I had no idea that I would enjoy a book about zombies this much. True, the zombies are only background noise. The real story is about politics and intrigue. I just finished the last book, and I’m sad that it’s over.

8. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Another one I’ll probably get laughed at for, but way back when, I was ready to write off Harry Potter as nothing but a kids’ book. Yeah, right. Those books are phenomenal, worth all the attention and fans that they got.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I read this book for one reason: it was available for free through the Kindle library. I had just gotten my Kindle and desperately wanted to read something on it. I had heard of The Hunger Games, but knew nothing about it. I figured it was worth a read, but didn’t expect much out of it except to play with my new Kindle toy. How surprised was I?

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I got this book because it was on sale through Amazon for $1.99 and I had heard of the author’s name before, connected with other authors that I enjoy (like John Green and Maureen Johnson). I knew it was basically a YA romantic comedy, but I wasn’t expecting to be so enchanted by it. Such a sweet book! It’s now my go-to book if I need cheering up. It just makes me smile.

So there you have it! A new feature and a fun list.

 

Trips I've Taken

Meerkats and tigers and roos! Oh my!

This weekend, my family and I went to the Greensboro Science Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was a lot of fun! This place is a constant surprise, with their exhibits and shows. They’ve done a huge expansion, which will feature a massive aquarium. Can’t wait to see that when it’s finished. I hardly recognized the place.

But hands down, the best part is their Animal Discovery, which led my daughter to nickname the place “the little zoo.” Here are just a few things that they have:

Meerkats!

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Wallabies!

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Peacocks!

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Gibbons!

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And my favorite, the tigers!

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Another thing they had was the tornado tube. You step in and it will show you what it feels like inside a tornado, winds up to 80 miles per hour. It’s a hard thing to describe, but I did snap a picture.

Hair going straight up!
Hair going straight up!

Anyway, that was our day. It was nice to get away and relax for a while, spending time with the family.

Drabbles · WWW Wednesday

Wednesday on a Thursday

I’ve been meaning to find another meme or two to participate in on my blog. Thanks to a commenter on Top Ten Tuesday, I have now found two more!

Starting next week, I will be doing two memes hosted by “Should Be Reading” – Teaser Tuesday, which will be done alongside Top Ten Tuesday, and WWW Wednesday. Since I missed doing this on Wednesday, I shall do it now.

WWW Wednesday poses three questions beginning with the letter “W” – What are you currently reading? What have you recently finished reading? What do you think you’ll read next? I’m always interested in seeing what people are reading, but I’m also hoping this will get me out of my reading slump. This meme would get really boring if it was the same books over and over. So here it goes.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading two books: Abhorsen by Garth Nix and Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings. I need to finish the Eddings book today, since I’m supposed to record a podcast on it tonight. The Nix book has been dogging me for a while now, and I’m not sure why. I’m enjoying it, but it’s really hard to pick it up and read sometimes. I had the same problem with the first book in the series, Sabriel. Strangely enough, I flew right through book two (Lirael). Not sure why.

What have you recently finished reading?

I just finished Blackout by Mira Grant, the last book in her Newsflesh trilogy. Holy cow, what a story! Lots of things that I didn’t expect at all. I was supposed to keep up with the schedule over at Mark Reads, but I just got to the point where I couldn’t wait any more. I had to know what happened RIGHT NOW!!!! So yeah. I gave in and finished the book. It was totally worth it. Be on the lookout for a review of this one in the next few weeks.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next up is a re-reading of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson so that I can read The Madness Underneath. I’ve heard a lot of people’s heads exploding over something that happens in this second book, and I am dying to know what it is! That and I’ve had this book for a while now and haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

So there you have it! A new weekly post! Hope you enjoy!

Books I've Read

You are such beautiful creatures . . .

Beautiful CreaturesNow that I’m back blogging (hopefully for good now), I can start catching up on my book reviews. Today’s review is Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

“Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”

I don’t usually include quotes in my reviews, but those lines give me chills. Said by a character who obviously is not mortal, it really resonates with how we find it so hard to accept the things we cannot change. I think that’s one of the things I enjoyed about this book so much. It says a lot about destiny and accepting the path that has been chosen for us, but it also makes it clear that sometimes, even if you can’t change things, you at least have to try.

This is the story of Ethan, a boy growing up in a small town in South Carolina. It’s your basic boy-meets-girl story, only with a lot of twists and turns. A new girl named Lena comes to town. She is very different from the other girls, which immediately makes her both the most talked about girl in school, and a social outcast. It doesn’t help that she is the niece of the town recluse. When Ethan sees her, he feels drawn to her and is fairly certain that she is the girl he has been dreaming about for months. As Ethan gets to know Lena, he finds out that she is a caster, basically a witch (although a bit different). She is counting down to her sixteenth birthday because on that day, she will be changed either into a Light Caster or a Dark Caster. Everyone around her is hopeful that she will be claimed for Light, but Lena knows that her mother was Dark, and that there’s a good chance she will be too.

One thing I really liked about this story is that it’s told from a male protagonist’s perspective. Most of these stories (a mortal falling in love with a supernatural being, whether it’s a vampire, a werewolf, or a witch) is told from the girl’s perspective, with the girl being the mortal. This story was the opposite of that, which was refreshing. Ethan and Lena’s relationship is sweet, but tragic at the same time, since Lena is so certain that things will change once she is claimed. She is determined to have a normal teenage life and to enjoy the time she has left with Ethan, but there is always the undercurrent that things won’t last. Add to that visions that show how Ethan and Lena’s ancestors may have been in love back during the Civil War, which leads Ethan to believe that they belong together, regardless of whether Lena is claimed for Dark or for Light.

It’s a really beautiful love story, with a really interesting magic system and mythology. While it’s not a completely original idea, there were some twists and turns that I hadn’t seen before, which made the story really come alive and kept me turning pages. This is definitely a series that I will try to finish.

If anyone is interested, the podcast I co-host, Bibliophiles Anonymous, did an episode on this book. You can find a link to it here. Also, speaking of the podcast, we’re doing a giveaway this month! Details can be found at this post. Entering is easy and the prize is pretty cool! Check it out!