Monday, August 31, 2015

August Round Up

My August

This month was crazy for me.  My workload was insane for my job, and 100% had to get done before I left for my trip.  

The trip was fantastic though.  We drove from Connecticut up to Maine where we had an awesome dinner.  
Lobster, Corn, Steamers then Blueberry Pie a la mode
Then we headed north to to Beaupris, Quebec where we saw lots of waterfalls and ate poutine.  Real poutine, not the fries that they pass off as poutine in America.

BBQ Pork Poutine and Duck Confit Poutine

Chutes Montmorency                Canyon Sainte Anne 

Quebec City is one of my favorite cities in the world, it's so cute!  We went to a Huron museum on their reservation, which was really cool, I wrote my French thesis on them and their interactions with the Jesuit missionaries.  

The Huron's Welcome Dance

We then headed to Montreal, the biodome was so awesome, and the botanical gardens were cool too.  


Botanical Gardens

I even got to see where the Canadiens play!  Go Habs!

Then we headed back to the US into New York to see my alma mater and go on the beverage trail (plus an extra vineyard and brewery) in the neighboring towns.  And we stopped at my favorite ice cream place.  

Pretty much the only other thing I did in August was "see" Shaggy at the outdoor concert series where I work.  The place was mobbed, so my friends and I went out for drinks then stayed outside of the sectioned off streets to hear him, but we did see his back when we made our way behind the stage.  And of course we heard Wasn't Me, so it was a great night!

August's Artsy Stuff

I really didn't do too much artsy stuff this month, I barely had time to do anything really.  

 My only nail art this month (as I'm typing this I don't even have polish on my nails, so weird) it was a cool abstract flower design.

Before I left for my trip I made sure my cat's paw print was painted correctly.  The colors match her coat and the green matches her eyes.  This is the back of the print, the front is just white with the impression.

I also made this bracelet.  I need to get back into jewelry making, I miss it.

The one other thing I did was finish my brother's wedding present, but I don't want to post it here before he gets it.  So that will be posted hopefully in September.

August's Blog News

The giveaway has officially started!  There will be four winners, each getting a set of 3 books.  More information is in the giveaway post.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Short Story Sunday [10]

The Ascent of Unreason
by Marie Brennan


This story is about a dancer who gives up dancing to become a work of art until war changes everything.

I found the story to be pretty unremarkable, it was neither good nor bad, it just was.  I didn't really understand the protagonist.  She didn't like to conform to the rules of dancing so instead of quitting she made sure she was kicked out?  I did like the ending though, her final confrontation with the artist.  It was just getting there that took to long, too much exposition, a little more character development for the main character and less describing dancing and the works of art she became would have been better.

I give this story a 5/10, it was solidly in the middle for me the bad equaled the good and the narration was good.

I listened to this story on Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Go have a listen.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer 2015 Giveaway

For my first giveaway there will be 4 chances to win a set of 3 books.  

Set 1
Matched - Ally Condie
Counting by 7s - Holly Goldberg Sloan
Invasion - Walter Dean Myers

Set 2 
Starters - Lissa Price
The Last Present - Wendy Mass
Havisham - Ronald Frame

Set 3
Fairest - Marissa Meyer
The Wolf Princess - Cathryn Constable
The Boy on the Porch - Sharon Creech

Set 4
The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot - Caroline Carlson
Who Asked You - Terry McMillan
Stone Rider - David Hofmeyr

Most, but not all, of these books are ARCs that I received at BEA either this past year or two years ago

In order to be eligible to win you need to follow my blog using one of the options on the left (google, email, or bloglovin)  If you choose email let me know in the comments below.  Also, when you enter let me know in the comments which set you want to receive if you win.

Unfortunately since I'll be shipping these books myself only US residents can enter.  I will be doing another giveaway in the fall that will be open internationally.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 28, 2015


by Marie Lu
narrated by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern


Summary from GoodReads

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Thoughts on the Book

This is the first of quite a few audio books I've listened to lately.  I have always sort of wanted to read this series.  Last year at BookCon I saw a panel including Marie Lu which was the first time I had heard of the series.  So when I saw it was available as an audio book it was the first one I listened to.  

My Review

This story is told from two perspectives, Day and June.  One is a rebel fighting against the government (Day), the other is the perfect citizen, striving to be the best in the army (June).  June has always been intrigued by Day and Day has no clue who June is, and really doesn't care.  They are brought together once Day needs to steal plague medicine and June is brought into the investigation.

I absolutely loved this book.  It was such a fun listen.  The narrators, Steven Kaplan for Day's voice and Mariel Stern for June's voice, did such a great job with it.  Stern's intonations I found to be perfect for how June would have sounded, they had the perfect attitude for a super smart overly logical person.

Both characters I found to be totally believable.  June was spoiled because of her test scores, and the fact that Metias loved her and would let some things slide.  She was also very smart and very logical, but it was within the confines of what she was taught.  Day was also smart, although he was more street smart, and could infer things easily and accurately.  

I found the setting very intriguing.  It was a dystopian future, what else is new, but it wasn't so far fetched as other YA dystopias.  Something happened in the US causing the states to separate off, leaving California and some other states as America while the other states became the Colonies.  I loved being able to piece together the world, I get annoyed with stories that are like our world, but at the same time make no sense within our current context.

Overall I give this a 10/10.  I couldn't put it down, my iPod was on and attached to me for the whole day!  I can't wait to continue the series.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday [16]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on Winter by Marissa Meyer (November 10, 2015)

Summary From GoodReads

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Why I'm Waiting

I absolutely love this series, I can't wait to find out what happens! Will Cinder prevail and take what's rightfully hers?  Will Wolf rescue Scarlet?  And I've been dying to get to know more about Winter, Fairest was such a tease!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday [13]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten Books That Would Be on Your Syllabus If You Taught Norse Mythology in Modern Lit 101

I was inspired by the Tolkien class offered at my undergrad college, and the Scandinavian and Old English lit class I took there.  I was also inspired by my recent reading of the Wolfsangel Cycle.

1 - The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I had to start with the obvious choice.  But it's also a good place to start to see Norse references in modern lit.  Tolkien was an Old English professor so he was very well versed in the sagas.  He incorporated a lot of themes from Norse mythology in this book in particular (the Lord of the Rings doesn't have quite as many references).  My favorite Norse bit that was brought in was the battle of wits between Bilbo and Gollum aka the riddle contest.  It is so very Odin/Loki.

2 - Thor: God of Thunder from Marvel

As much as I hate how the Norse gods are portrayed in Marvel, it is a major part of modern society.  I would probably pair this with one of the Thor movies as well.

3 - Going Bovine by Libba Bray

This book was recommended to me because of Balder.  I refused to read it because Balder is a lawn gnome.  But despite the horrible inaccuracies of Norse mythology when inserted into modern lit, they are still in modern lit.

4 - Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones

This book has a lot of Odin in it, as well as the mythology surrounding him.

5 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This book is littered with mythological references.  The first and foremost Norse reference being that Wednesday is Odin.

6 - Norse Code by Greg Van Eekhout

This book deals with more than just Odin, a lot of other Norse gods make an appearance, as does Ragnarok.

7 - The Wild Road by Gabriel King

This one has a suprising amount of Norse mythology for being about cats.  For starters there's Majicou who is essentially Odin.  One for Sorrow who is the incarnation of Hugin and Munin.

8 - Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan

This one was a no brainer to be added to Norse mythology in modern lit.  It's all about Ragnarok and the gods being reincarnated in people to play out the end of the world.

9 - Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

This one, I was pleasantly surprised to see that almost all of the gods referenced were Norse.  The best part though, was that they never said who the gods were, you have to use your Norse mythology knowledge to figure it out.

10 - Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Yep, finishing out the curriculum with some Manga.  Norse mythology is huge in Japanese culture for some reason, so it's only right to include the Japanese perspective from their own modern lit.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blog News [1]

I was on vacation last week and just got back last night.  I had hoped to post uninterrupted while away, but work got crazy so that took priority and I wasn't able to prep anything other than a Top Ten Tuesday.

Starting tomorrow things should get back on schedule, Top Ten Tuesday on Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday on Wednesday, Book Review on Friday, Short Story Sunday on Sunday, and Book Review on Monday.

My vacation was a road trip, so I got a lot of book listening in, as well as a little bit of reading.  There are many reviews to come!

Also, keep your eyes out for a give away, I have something in the works.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday [12]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten of Your Auto-Buy Authors

  1.  Stephanie Perkins - She is my favorite author right now, I have read everything she's written so many times.  I will wait for as long as I have to to read her next book.  I mean, Isla and the Happily Ever After was so worth the wait!
  2.  Richelle Mead - My second favorite author right now.  I honestly don't think she can write a bad book.
  3. Scott Westerfeld - Even though I didn't particularly like Afterworlds, or at least the Darcy half of it, I will still read whatever he publishes in hopes for another amazing series like The Midnighters, Uglies, or Leviathin.
  4. Mercedes Lackey - Especially if it's a 500 Kingdoms book.  But really, I'll read whatever she writes because it's going to be fantasy and it's going to be wonderful.
  5. Lauren DeStefano - I've absolutely loved everything she's written.  Ever since Whither came out I've been at the book store on the release day for all of her other books, and I will continue to do so!
  6. Maggie Stiefvater - Another author that keeps writing amazing series.  I can't wait for the end of the Raven Cycle, and I can't wait to see what's up next!
  7. Nathan Lowell - Though technically he's not auto-buy since he's all creative commons, no derivatives, 3.0 license he's an auto listen.  I love all of his stuff so far and I can't wait for more! Especially more of the Solar Clipper series!
  8. John Green - Who doesn't love John Green?  Whatever he writes next will be awesome.  I just want him to stop with the movie nonsense and continue writing!
  9. Marissa Meyer - I'm so in love with the Lunar Chronicles.  Each one is completely amazing.  As much as I never want the series to end, I can't wait for Winter and for what she writes next!  Meyer, like Destefano, I go to the store on release day to get the latest book.
  10. Michael Crichton - I know, I know, he's not going to be writing any more books.  But there have been a couple that have been posthumously released books, which I have purchased and read. And I can always wish for more.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Short Story Sunday [9]

Made of Cats: A Love Story
by Judith Tarr


This story was so much fun.  It's about an alien race that comes to Earth and as a show of good will they make cats as cute as possible.  So funny.  I love the tone of the story, I love what they did to the cats, and I love love LOVE the resolution.  Can we have that?  Please?

I give this story a 10/10 for the sheer fun of it.

I first hear this story on Escape Pod.  It was narrated by Amanda Ching who did a fantastic job with it.  The full text is also there if you prefer to read rather than listen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Golden Compass vol. 1

by Philip Pullman (adapted by Stéphane Melchior and Clément Ouberie) 

Summary From GoodReads

The world of Philip Pullman’s internationally bestselling His Dark Materials saga is brought to visual life in book 1 of a three-volume graphic adaptation of The Golden Compass.

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her dæmon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, and a mysterious substance known as Dust. As she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win—or to lose—this more-than-mortal battle.

The stunning full-color art offers both new and returning readers a chance to experience the story of Lyra, an ordinary girl with an extraordinary role to play in the fates of multiple worlds, in an entirely new way.

Thoughts on the Book

This was one of the books I was the most excited about from BEA.  His Dark Materials is my absolute favorite series ever written.  

My Review

Volume 1 of The Golden Compass goes right up until the mechanic bugs see Lyra on the ship. 

Pretty much the only thing I liked about this adaptation was the underlying story.  The part that they took from Philip Pullman.  The artwork wasn't very good.  Fadar Coram was downright creepy looking.  As were almost all of the characters.  The pictures didn't really enhance the story at all, and the parts from the book that were taken were only dialogue.  So much was missing, it made the story so dull and rushed.  Even major plot devices were left out.  For example, the caught one of the mechanical beetles, but that was that, they didn't put it in the round tin and weld the sides.  Um, that's kind of really important even though it seems like an insignificant event.

In reading the original novel I absolutely loved Lyra, she's such an interesting character, and my favorite female protagonist ever written.  Pan was also a great character, the one that hung back when Lyra didn't care about the consequences, the one that voiced intelligent concerns before rash decisions.  In the graphic novel Pan was there to be different animals randomly, and add a bit of dialogue.  On top of that Lyra wasn't developed at all.  It was more like the adapters were like "oh! this dialogue is important, let's just throw it in here with a creepy drawing" and didn't care one iota about character development.  Even Mrs. Coulter didn't seem that evil.  Her true evil comes from the fact that she acts so nice and sweet all the time.  And the monkey?  Not even a little scary in this.  The creepiness of the normal characters made the drawing of the monkey almost cute.

Another thing that really bothered me is Pan, he appears mostly as a pine martin, which he hardly ever was during the book.  That was just lazy and unnecessary.  Bravo illustrators/adapters you read the Amber Spyglass!  The adapters don't even bother to try to explain dæmons, there are just a bunch of random animals with everyone, and Lyra's looks different every couple of pages. It's like everyone has an insignificant pet with them, but Lyra's is slightly different because it talks and can shape-shift.

If you've read The Golden Compass, you may as well skip this adaptation, it will probably just annoy you and make you want to reread the book to get the awfulness out of your head.  If you haven't read it yet DO NOT read this version, the story is so much better than what they threw together.

Overall I give this a 4/10.  If it were any other story it would be less, but the four points it gets are strictly because the story itself is amazing, despite what they did to ruin the telling of it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday [15]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (October 06, 2015)

Summary from GoodReads

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Why I'm Waiting

I'm a sucker for books containing Norse mythology.  However, I'm very picky, the book has to keep somewhat true to the mythology.  Riordan did a pretty good job with Percy Jackson, so I'm hoping he does a good job with this series as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday [11]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten Authors I've Read the Most Books From

  1. Tamora Pierce  - I have read all of her books (and own them all) right up until the Beka Cooper series.  I've lost track of how many times I've reread the series too, especially Circle of Magic and Songs of the Lioness.
  2. Michael Crichton - I love Crichton so much.  I was so upset when he died.  I've read every one of his book except for Next, for some reason that keeps getting pushed down on my TBR pile.
  3. Lauraine Snelling - Just based on sheer number of books in the series/world that I love.  I love reading about Blessing, North Dakota, and I've read every single book as well as all of the short stories on the website.  I'm obsessed with the Bjorklunds.
  4. Brian Jacques - I've read most of the Redwall series, I think I petered out after Legend of Luke in terms of publication date.  But those were the books of my childhood. Love, love, love them!  He may be the reason why I'm so proud to be a Hufflepuff.  Badgers are freaking awesome! They have a whole mountain as their home!  Salamandastron was my favorite of the series.  Salamandastron, The Long Patrol, and Martin the Warrior. Such fantastic books...
  5. Mercedes Lackey - Lackey is one of my favorite authors, but I sadly haven't read too much from her, at least not in the Valdemar series.  I've read almost all of the 500 Kingdoms and a couple of the Elemental Masters, and at least one series from Valdemar.
  6. Richelle Mead - Another one of my all-time favorite authors.  I've read every single one of her YA books and all of her adult books except for the Dark Swan series...and I don't know why...I should get on that...
  7. Charlaine Harris - I loved her Sookie Stackhouse series, it was so good! So much better than True Blood.  I read the whole series, plus the side stories.  Now I really want to read her new Midnight Texas series.
  8. Scott Westerfeld - Another author I've read almost everything from.  There are couple adult books and some of his earlier works that I haven't read, but if it was published after The Midnighters I've read it
  9. Robin McKinley - Another fantastic author.  I've read a lot of her stuff, and she really doesn't write series, so she's the author that I've read the second most stories from, not just books.  And second of course to Michael Crichton since he only had one book that was a sequel.  McKinley has a couple.
  10. Nicholas Sparks - I'm kind of ashamed to admit this one...but he's a good quick read!  And not all of his books are horribly depressing,, The Choice ends kind of happy, and so does The Longest Ride.  Sort of...

Monday, August 10, 2015


by Colleen Houck

Summary from GoodReads

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

Thoughts on the Book

I've been making some good progress going through my BEA books.  This was the next on my pile to read.  It got bumped up in the list because some fellow bloggers gave it awesome reviews, so I couldn't wait to read it myself.  And then there's the cover: sooooo pretty!

My Review

This book is about a mummy, Amun, who awakens.  He's not an evil mummy, but a demi-god blessed by Amon-Ra and Horus to return every millenia to thwart Seth (or Set) with his two brothers.  When Amun wakes up he is in the Met in NYC and the only one around is a perfect rich girl, Lilliana, who is discontent with her "perfect" life.

The characters in this are amazing.  Lilliana, or as Amun calls her, Lily, is wonderful.  I absolutely loved her.  Her parents are sort of there.  They try to be there for Lily, but she finds them to be mostly absent.  They're both very power driven and want Lily to be perfect and influential, not to mention do absolutely nothing to tarnish their reputation.  But the do really care for Lily, and she knows it.  That's the struggle for her.  She wants to go to college, but not an Ivy League one just for the prestige, she loves observing people, but doesn't want to disappoint her parents by going for a not-so-fabulous degree.  Meeting her at the beginning when she was contemplating college while hanging out at the Met I thought she'd love Anthropology, it's all about people watching and understanding them.  After finished the book I'd be shocked if she didn't go that route, maybe not Cultural Anthropology anymore but Archaeology.  

Amun is another fantastic character.  He's so sweet, and very smart.  Not to mention eloquent.  Good lord some of the stuff that guy said.  Even Lily thought he was being overly cheesy, but she quickly realized he was just speaking from the heart.  Those ancient Egyptian princes, they were real poets.  I also absolutely loved his second nickname for Lily (Lily, or Young Lily, being the first), Nehebet.  It means water lily, specifically a rare water lily that only grows in oases.  

Reawakened was action-packed throughout.  From the very beginning when Amun awakens then gets hit by a car then run over by a few more.  The journey to Egypt, the epic battles throughout that lead up to the even more epic battle at the end.  There wasn't a dull moment.  Even the slower parts of the book were laced with humor.  Amun would call taxis yellow chariots and airplanes white flying chariots.  When he first met Lily he told her he was accustomed to waking to a feast and singing, but she could sing to him later.  Silly things like that kept happening, and even after Amun became more accustomed to our time Asten showed up and started making silly comments along with his over the top personality.

I absolutely loved this book.  It wasn't written like your typical YA book, it felt more like an adult novel.  The romance wasn't all consuming, it was more of an annoyance to Lily for most of the book.  It also read like a stand alone book.  I actually thought that it was until I looked at GoodReads and it said "the Reawakened #1", sigh, why can't there be awesome stand alones?  Why do they always have to be part of a series?  I just hope the later ones in the series read the same way this one did.  

I give this a 10/10.  My only complaints are a smidgen more foreshadowing when they met Osahar would have been nice, and more Asten and Ahemet.  Seriously, the little taste of them we got just left me wanting to know them more!  Asten's so great, and his bantering with Ahemet was so entertaining.  So for book two, more of the brothers please!!