Harry Potter Thursday: Favorite Molly Weasley Moment(s)

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Harry Potter Thursday is a meme of the week created and hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. Each week is a different question pertaining to the world of Harry Potter. You can find the questions here.

Who doesn’t love Molly Weasley? She is the ultimate mom. She not only manages to raise seven children and keep her husband from accidentally electrocuting himself (who knows what else he’s hiding in that chicken coop besides a Flying Ford Anglia), but she does it without as many resources as one might like and through the middle of a Wizarding War.

She accepts Harry into her family without question, just because he is Ron’s best friend. There are plenty of families that would’ve seen their son’s friendship with the Boy Who Lived as some kind of social advantage (*cough*Malfoy*cough*), but she just saw someone who liked her son and who needed a bit of mothering.

As such, there are a lot of moments to choose from when thinking about my favorite Molly Weasley moment. I couldn’t narrow it down to one because there were two that popped into my head and neither one of them were giving way.

Chamber of Secrets, Where Have You Been?!

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While this is not our first introduction to Molly Weasley either in the films or in the books, this is the first time that we get to see Molly truly in her element: in her home, the Burrow. Yes her tone is harsh, but even though she’s snapping at her sons, she has moments of sweetness because she’s glad Harry’s alright, but she also knows these Weasley boys need discipline. She alternates between the two tempers flawlessly and I think this scene was a faithful adaptation from the source material.

Deathly Hallows, Not My Daughter

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If there is one thing you should NEVER do, it is come between Mrs. Weasley and one of her children, especially not long after she’s already lost one of them. Her fierceness in this scene, despite facing an admittedly strong adversary, proves that she is the ultimate Mama Bear character and will do anything for her children. If that includes utterly decimating Bellatrix Lestrange in a one on one duel, then so be it.

Bellatrix never stood a chance.

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Non-Written Novels

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

I am a huge fan of graphic novels, manga, and audiobooks, all examples of “non-written” novels. They are simply different methods of storytelling and these can get to you in a way that text based novels can’t always: manga or graphic novels appeal to your eyes with their images, either black and white or color; audiobooks tap into our sense of hearing and allow our eyes to rest, almost making it easier for our minds to imagine the scene playing out “on the page”.

I have so many different favorites to share, but I’ll try to narrow it down to just five for this week.

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1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Narrated by Kate Burton

This is one of my favorite novels of all time to begin with, but when I heard this unabridged adaptation by Kate Burton, it took my admiration to a whole new level. Kate Burton does an amazing job in bringing these simple people to life. Her subtle accents are very good, from the Brooklyn to the Irish. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for any audiobook recommendation.

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2. Herbie’s Big Adventure by Jennie Poh

This was an adorable picture book whose art impressed me. It’s about a young hedgehog named Herbie who is learning what it means to grow up and learn his own boundaries and what he’s comfortable with.

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3. Chew Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice

Written by John Layman, Illustrated by Robert Guillory

Chew was such an odd book for me to read because the story was unique: the main character, Tony Chu, is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from anything he eats. This makes him a great detective, although his superiors are often jerks and make him eat some rather unsavory items to get to the bottom of a case.

This series has a wide range of characters that Tony comes across that make the series even more fun, my  favorite being Poyo the fighting chicken.

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4. Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova

This was the first book I ever read by Svetlana and it made me a fan of all her future work. She has a great style that’s reminiscent of Japanaese manga or anime but it wholly her own. This Ultimate Edition has an extra chapter that revolves around two characters from the three volume series, so I would recommend getting this for the extra material.

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5. Alice 19th by Yuu Watase

Manga is one of my favorite forms of storytelling. While there might be some similarities between different artists, in that you can recognize manga vs. American comics or Korean style comics, when you begin to read individual artists you find their individual flairs. Yuu Watase has a particular flair, for example, with the faces of her characters and the costuming of her heroes.

Alice 19th is a great series for these reasons and also because the story tells of Alice, a girl who finds out that words have power and it’s a power that needs to be wielded wisely or you never know what might happen to those who bear the brunt of them.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Insta-Love Books On My TBR

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

Normally insta-love is not something that I like too much, but there are instances in which it either works somewhat well or it doesn’t feel like it fits that trope as much as other books.

To pair up with Top 1o Tuesday’s topic relating to romance tropes in honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share with you ten of the novels that I have on my TBR that are considered to be insta-love and I want to read anyway. Goodreads has a few lists that are guides for similar novels, but this list seems to be the most inclusive if you’re interested in finding similar novels: Popular Insta Love Novels.

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1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Goodreads

The first book in Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestselling trilogy about forbidden love, revolution, and the power to choose. Now with a brand-new cover and an exclusive-to-this-book sneak peek at her next novel for teens: the ambitious, wholly original masterwork Replica.

In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

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2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

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3. Fallen by Lauren Kate

Goodreads

What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

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4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Goodreads

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

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For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

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6. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Goodreads

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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7. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Goodreads

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

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8. Legend by Marie Lu

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.

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9. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Goodreads

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

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10. Matched by Ally Condie

Goodreads

In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

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Review: The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

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Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

Rating: 1 Star

This debut novel called out to me for a few different reasons. It features main characters who are African American, so the diversity was a plus factor. I’ve been interested in Egyptian mythology in the past, so time travel back to Ancient Egypt? Sign me up. Add an element of magic and it sounds like this should have been quite a good novel.

I was of this mind for the first few chapters, at least while Portia, her sister Alex, and Selene (the unwitting freshman), were still in modern times. It felt like the author’s writing was the most comfortable while in this time period. Once the narrative shifts to Ancient Egypt is when things start to fall apart for me.

The three girls are separated immediately, which affects the closeness that these modern girls should have when confronted with their new situation. It takes a really long time for anything to come together, whether that be Portia figuring out what’s going on or finding out where Selene or Alex are.

Even once the girls are somewhat reunited, the story never really picks up. The words drag on so much that reading it was honestly painful at times. I did not enjoy reading this book from around 40% onward, which was disappointing. Aside from the slowness of the plot, the characters suffered. Alex was not in the novel nearly as much as one would suspect and I don’t think we really got to know her beyond a facade of the perfect twin, the smart girl that doesn’t question her gift because she doesn’t care.

Something else that bothered me regarding this book was the heavy barrage of information regarding the clothing, the architecture, and the surroundings Portia found herself in. It all felt like too much, like I was being hit by another explanation about what this was called or that was called every other sentence. It didn’t feel like world building, it felt like being force fed information and that was less than enjoyable.

I found the explanation for the events of the book (why they went back in time, the scarab, etc.) to be somewhat lacking. It could’ve been developed into something great, I think, but so much time was wasted on other things that the big reveal felt like a letdown. I’m curious whether this will be the standalone. At the moment there’s no series listed as continuing, but the story has some potential for continuation. I’m not sure whether that would be in the best interest of the story or whether it should be allowed to lay to rest.

The cover is gorgeous, the first 25% of the book is enjoyable, but I wouldn’t recommend this too highly unless you enjoy the heaviness of information and slow pacing.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Review: Buzz Books 2017: Young Adult Spring/Summer by Publishers Lunch

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Our sixth edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides the special excitement of Winter Institute and takes it even further with samples of the best in forthcoming young adult novels months ahead of their actual publication. Publishing insiders— librarians, booksellers, bloggers and reviewers—rely on Buzz Books to survey breakout titles on the horizon.

These substantial pre-publication excerpts reflect a broad spectrum of today’s young adult writing, from fantasy and romance to suspense and humor. You will discover debut writers to put on your radar, while enjoying early samples from some of the biggest authors in the field and even a memoir for younger readers.

Three New York Times bestselling authors share new work: Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger); Cora Carmack (the Losing It series); and Joelle Charbonneau (the Testing trilogy). Ahdieh and Charbonneau are previous Buzz Books authors, so we’re delighted to have them back.

Beyond the boundaries of YA, we also feature two middle grade titles from JIMMY Patterson, the children’s imprint that James Patterson founded to encourage every child to love reading.

Rating: 2.6 Stars (Average of the stories together)

Buzz Books is a fun collection to look forward to because it gives us the chance to get a look at forthcoming titles that may or may not have full ARCs available yet. This collection had 18 different samples, some longer than others, some more enjoyable than others. I’ve done a brief review of each. Please keep in mind that these reviews are based upon limited samples and not the full works.

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5 Stars – The Flame in the Mist: Having read one of Renee Ahdieh’s books before (The Wrath & the Dawn), I was pleased her writing style & quality continued in this novel. I tend to get nervous with authors when I’ve read one book and loved it. I get worried that I won’t like their future works as much. The Flame in the Mist sample introduces some intrigue & questions I look forward to having answered.

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2 Stars – The One Memory of Flora Banks: the premise didn’t sound very good to me and the sample we got wasn’t really enough to convince me to pick it up. The writing is fine, it’s the story that feels lacking. There are so many holes I feel that are going to rip open due to Flora’s short term memory loss & traveling across the world. I don’t think I want to continue this book, at least not as a purchase I make.

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1 Star – Dream Me: I am so glad that I don’t have to read the rest of this book. Zat’s chapter wasn’t thrilling, but the sudden shift from third to first person in Babe’s chapter was jarring and she wasn’t an interesting character. She felt silly, dim, and boring. The writing didn’t even save it.

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3 Stars – Future Threat (Book #2 of Future Shock trilogy): even though I didn’t read the 1st book in this trilogy, there was a decent recap so I knew enough to get by for this sample (I didn’t know beforehand this was a sequel). It’s not bad, kind of interesting plot. The writing was good, not spectacular. It didn’t make me want to start from the 1st book, so did it succeed? If the 1st book feels superfluous, I’d say something’s wrong.

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2 Stars – Piper Perish: Piper seemed like a very whiny character, much younger than she’s supposed to be. I’m curious about why her sister Marli is such a bitch, but honestly, not enough to read the whole book. The diary format felt forced and I didn’t understand why we needed each entry to be time-stamped.

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3 Stars – Roar: interesting premise. I want to hear more about these storm gems that they steal from the heart of a storm. I didn’t like the abrupt change of point of view; it happened in the middle of a paragraph. Hopefully that’s fixed before but publication.

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3 Stars – This Is Really Happening: the excerpt we were giving was tough because, as Erin says, it’s about one of the worst/weirdest experiences of her life. I’m not sure if I’d say her voice is the “freshest” I’ve ever read, but I would like to hear more about her experience with cancer, facing the future, and more.

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4 Stars – Dividing Eden: another interesting concept. There’s a lot of action that still needs to happen and I want to know what happens!

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1 Star – Spirit Quest: the writing style bored me to tears. It felt too simplistic and dull to pull together the story.

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2 Stars – The Black Witch: maybe it’s because the excerpt didn’t start from page one, but Elloren sounds like an idiot. There wasn’t a set up for the scenario we were in, so I’m not sure if this is a one off moment for her or her normal personality.

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How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry

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4 Stars – How to Be a Supervillain: in the style of How to Be a Wimpy Kid, this book looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. Victor’s a good kid, which in this case is bad. His parents are super(ish) villains, but he’s a goody-goody. The excerpt leaves off as he’s apprenticed to another semi-villlain and I need to see where that goes.

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3 Stars – The End of Our Story: there’s nothing too distinct about this story yet, but the synopsis has some promise and I liked the author’s previous novel, Paperweight, so the writing is solid enough to make me want to read more.

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Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson

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1 Star – Laugh Out Loud: I miss the good old days of James Patterson novels, when they had real quality. Any book he writes with a co-author suffers from a distinct lack of cohesion. This was, sadly, no exception. It sounded like an autobiography of a pretentious child.

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5 Stars – Aftercare Instructions: this is the single most powerful & interesting sample I’ve read so far. It’s about a tough subject, but the author doesn’t let that hold her writing back. She’s writing full strength and I anticipate this being a heartfelt, intense work that will resonate with readers.

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2 Stars – Geekerella: Elle’s kind of a bitch, which I was surprised by for the main character right out of the gate. She’s the kind of person who hates on a person/fan of “her” fandom because she doesn’t seem them worthy because a) they’re too famous for being a pretty boy actor or b) can’t answer one trivia question about the fandom. You don’t have to know everything about a fandom to be a fan, just saying.

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2 Stars – Rebels Like Us: the plot sounds like it’s got potential, particularly the race split proms, but the writing style seems really rough so it’s not going to be high on my list to read in the future.

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3 Stars – Definitions of Indefinable Things: there wasn’t quite enough in this sample to get a feel for how the story is, the voice of it or the pacing. There are some hints of a sarcastic sense of humor that I appreciate, which is a good start.

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2 Stars – Gem & Dixie: the writing was decent if a bit flat. Gem and her sister Dixie need more time to flesh out. I couldn’t get a clear picture of who they were, other than the front that’s presented to the world.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Trends You’re Tired Of

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

This week’s topic is about trends we’re tired of seeing in books. I took this to mean something slightly different from tropes, such as instalove or love triangles, and went with something I see, in my opinion, far too often: girls floating in water on the cover.

 

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1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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3. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

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4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 

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5. Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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While some of these covers are lovely in and of themselves, when counted together they number far too high not to be at least slightly annoying. There are at least three different lists on Goodreads alone that total over 100 novels that have girls floating in water and if you only account for young adult novels, it feels like a glut on the market.

These five are among the most eye catching. They’ve done their job in that respect, though I am curious what other options the cover designers would’ve gone with if floating girls had been off the table?

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Wish Had More Recipes In Them

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

Writers being writers, they’re great (or at least they’re supposed to be) describing what is going on in their novels. When the thing that is happening in the novel is a feast or a quiet night at home with a ton of snacks, then my stomach starts grumbling and I get hungry. Sometimes I can figure out the recipes, but wouldn’t it be nice if these books that described such delicious dishes actually had more recipes in them?

Some of these books might have had unofficial recipe books written based on their stories, but I’m aiming for recipes that would’ve been considered official at the time and published with the novels rather than afterwards.

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1. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Goodreads

Lara Jean bakes quite a lot throughout this book and it’s such an important part of who she. Why there aren’t any recipes in this books I have no idea, but one of the “events” of the books is Christmas time when Lara Jean bakes a ton of different types of cookies. Why not include of few of these recipes? It would make for a good book club night.

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2. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Goodreads

I distinctly remember a cherry jubliee being mentioned in this book and a chocolate mousse as well. Since these were being prepared for dragons, they were made in portions to boggle the mind. How about sharing the love and a recipe for a human sized portion, please? Two isn’t too much to ask, right?

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3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Goodreads

Why this book, you may ask, out of the entire series? After all, Harry has some pretty amazing feasts in the first book alone! Well, the special thing about this book is that it is the first time that Harry is able to visit the Burrow. Can you imagine all of the lovely meals that Molly Weasley made for him? They might not have been the most intricate meals, but you can bet they were the most heartfelt and they sure weren’t shoddy! I want to know what some of those dishes were so I can share them with my own family.

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4. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Goodreads

Shahrzhad does have some troubling times in this book, obviously, but once she’s gotten past the first night and things are going day to day, she starts to get treated rather well and that includes the food! I’m not very familiar with the preparation for the food mention therein, but with a nudge in the right direction I could make them and sample them (finally!).

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5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Goodreads

Part of the fun of going to the circus is the treats they have! It’s been awhile since I’ve read this, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is the caramel corn. The young twins in it talk about the food quite a bit when the focus is on them and they mention that in particular.

Since the circus has a specific color theme (black and white), I’m curious too about how the food would look.

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6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Goodreads

This book might sound a bit weird as one to want recipes from because the main characters are all very poor people. However, even though Katie, the head of the family, is poor, she never let that stop her from feeding her family as well and with as wide a variety as she was able with what she had. With minimal ingredients she made fricadellan (a sort of meatball, I think), bread pudding, and other things that Francie (the main character) spoke of with love.

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7. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Goodreads

While I didn’t like this book as much as I did the film adaptation, it still had quite a few different treats that made my mouth water. I read it at a difficult time in my life and these chocolates and candies gave me something to dream about. My skills with chocolate work are somewhat weak, but if Chocolat had recipes at the back, I think I’d have the abilities to attempt a replication.

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8. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Goodreads

If Chocolat was all about the chocolates and candies, then Heartless is all about the baked goods. I haven’t finished it yet, but already Catherine, the main character, has made a lemon tart that sounded beyond delicious. There was a banquet at the king’s ball that sounded like the best buffet ever and I bet Catherine has quite a bit more up her sleeve.

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9. Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts

Goodreads

Nell Channing gets a job in a bookstore (point one), working in their cafe (point two). She’s a genius in the kitchen, pulling recipes from who knows where, for everything from cakes and brownies to soups, salads, and sandwiches. If I lived on Three Sisters Island where Nell works, I am sure I’d become a regular of hers, even if I learned to make these dishes myself. I’m not sure if I could convince her to share her recipes, but based on her personality in the book, I don’t think she’d mind. I wish there were some recipes especially for her soups because this time of year they’d be very comforting.

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10. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Goodreads

There are so many different types of food mentioned in this book that it would be impossible to mention them all, but it’s similar to Dance Upon the Air: there’s sweets and savories. Now there is a separate cookbook that was published by C.S. Lewis’s stepson, so that sort of answers my quest for recipes here, but it would’ve been nice if there’d been simple ones to go along with each story, even if it were just ones for sandwiches or cookies.

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Review: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

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Author’s Website

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.

This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios’ film, Beauty and the Beast.

Rating: 4 Stars

Beauty and the Beast is a classic story, there’s no denying it. Within my world, it’s a story that has been told over and over again, whether it was read aloud from a storybook or it was through a viewing of the 1991 animated Disney film. Now that there is a live action version coming, there are quite a few companion books being released. I wanted to read this one in particular because I admired Jennifer Donnelly’s Waterfire Saga (mermaids were one of my favorite mythological creatures as a child).

I thought the premise was very interesting. Belle finds a book in the Beast’s library that offers her a way out of the castle, if only for a short time. What she doesn’t know is that it is all part of a game that Love and Death, here personified as two sisters, are playing with her and the Beast as their pawns.

The idea of tempting Belle with a way out of the castle was as very good one. While this takes place shortly after her episode in the woods with the wolves, and she and the Beast have begun to warm to each other, she’s still very much lonely and a prisoner within the castle. She misses her father fiercely and the life that she could have had is no longer an option so far as she knows. Death chose her trap well.

It’s Belle’s state of mind at this point in the overall fairy tale that allows me to overlook how silly she acted during some of the book. There were clearly some shenanigans going on that, being a brilliant girl, Belle ought to have seen, but she didn’t because she was so blinded by the thing she thought she wanted: an escape.

Besides the adventures that Belle took into the realm of Nevermore, we got a look into what life might have been like in the castle, which I appreciated. Favorite characters were present and their personalities were much the same, though I think the character that was given even more “umph” was Cogsworth. He dropped names about soldiers he’d met and famous battles he’d been involved with better than anyone I’ve ever heard of.

The ending was somewhat loose, as the Nevermore story/mystery was solved, but the overall tale is still ongoing. The Beast is still a Beast, Belle is still technically his prisoner, but at the end there is even more hope than there was at the beginning. I almost wish that Jennifer Donnelly would be allowed to do the novelization of the movie because her writing style would be just the right thing to set off one of my favorite stories of all time.

 

 

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Review: What Is It? by Nicole Hoang and Dustin Nguyen

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It’s rather strange, I’d have to say.
I saw the thing just yesterday.
What is it?
What could it be?
Someone please answer this for me!

In a nearby forest, a young girl discovers a mysterious little creature. Together, they seek to understand who or what the other is.

Written by Nicole Hoang when she was a young girl, this book was beautifully painted by Dustin Nguyen (Lil’ Gotham, Study Hall of Justice), her husband, as a wedding gift. What Is It? captures the curiosity, wonder, and discovery of childhood, where it’s still easy to be surprised by the unexpected.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

The lure of adventure and discovery of a mysterious creature intrigued me to pick up this title. The cover features gorgeous artwork that was also a tempting factor leading to my reading this book.

I tackled this one a little differently than normal. Rather than read it by myself, I read it aloud to my 6 year old son this time to see what he thought of it. This is the first picture book for the publisher’s imprint KABOOM!, so who better to share it with than their target audience?

The premise for this book was better than the follow through. According to the description, this story was written by Nicole Hoang when she was ten and it doesn’t feel as though much was done to the story, editing wise, between then and now. The experience was poorer for that because there were awkward pauses in the story, forced rhyme schemes, and an ending that dropped off. It was so abrupt that I thought that perhaps my digital edition was missing a page.

My son liked the art as much as I did. The colors were very vivid and the style is absolutely perfect for storybooks. However, he got bored about halfway through the book and wanted to skip several pages. The pacing didn’t work for him in much the same way it didn’t for me.

I think the thought behind this book was a lovely idea: a wedding present illustrated by the husband based on a story by his wife. However, I believe for it to be truly successful, it ought to have been edited before being offered to a larger audience via traditional publishing methods. A more cohesive story would have made the book a more happy experience not only for me as a reader, but for me as a mother sharing it with my son.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

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Mini-Review: A Patter for Pepper by Julie Kraulis

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads  –  JulieKraulis.com

Release Date: 1st August 2017

From pinstripe to houndstooth, ikat to toile, join Pepper on her journey into the history of textiles as she works alongside a tailor to make her perfect dress.

Pepper is getting a dress made for a special occasion. It’s the first dress that has ever been made just for her, and she wants it to be perfect. But what pattern is right for her? Pepper is particular, and nothing works at first. Dotted Swiss? Too plain. Houndstooth? Not enough color. Pinstripe? Too glum. As Pepper learns about each fabric, she finds a reason why it’s just not the one. Will Pepper ever be able to find the perfect pattern?

Julie Kraulis takes readers on a journey through gorgeous patterns and their origins–from the mountains of Switzerland to the green grass of Scotland–in search of Pepper’s ideal pattern. The incredible illustrations make for a dress, a character and a book that are impossible to forget.

Rating: 4 Stars

A Pattern for Pepper was a lovely glimpse into the world of textiles. There was a bit of information about different patterns that one might see quite often, but not know much about. I recognized the patterns myself, but I didn’t know some of the history that was shared about them. It was a nice learning experience.

The artwork was very pretty. I’m not sure of the style exactly, but I think that it was watercolor. I think it was a good match for the story and it flowed well with the narrative.

The reason I am not giving this a full five stars is because while this book will, I think, be entertaining for children, the adults that read it to them might notice a few things about Pepper and her behavior that bother them. For me, it was that she was mentioned as lying on the floor, having her shoes off (she shows off her socks, so I’m assuming this part), and generally being quite picky. Considering this is a business, I would’ve thought that her mother (shown only in one panel and never mentioned again) would’ve made sure she acted like a good customer. It was a family business, I understand, and one they’re quite familiar with, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.

I would recommend this to read together as it’s a good experience, but it would be good for a child to read by themselves, though I think some of the pronunciations might be difficult.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

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