Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas reads

It has become December, and thus my holiday reading list begins again. There are a few books I re-read every single holiday season, and with good reason. And indeed, it is quite nice to be able to read stories which I know and love during this season of warmth and joy.

1. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.
     Kind of an obvious choice, I suppose. This is one of the greatest Christmas stories ever written, and everyone ought to read it at least once. There are many fantastic film adaptations, as well.

2. The Legend of Holly Claus, by Brittany Ryan.
     A very feel-good tale of the daughter of Santa Claus and her intense love for humanity and how love conquers all. There's nothing specifically Christian about this book, which may give some readers pause, but I encourage you to read it. I penned a short review of it here.

3. The Chimes, by Charles Dickens.
     Basically, any Christmas story written by Dickens should be required reading at Christmas.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis.
     I consider this a Christmas book because of the Narnian winter and the visit of Father Christmas.

5. The story of Jesus' birth in Luke 2.
     Because of course. His birth is the center of the Holy Day, and it wouldn't do to forget that.


I also try to re-read a classic or two during this season. This year I have chosen Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have not read Little Women in years, and it is definitely time to revisit it.

Do you have any must reads for the holiday season?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Greater Good: a fan-made Harry Potter short film

One finds the coolest things on the internets. I'm serious, it'd be all too easy to spend your entire life reading and watching stuff. (Don't, though. The world has a lot to offer. Of course, with the threat of Ebola, maybe no contact with the outside world is a good idea...) Anyway, one of the things I found today is this awesome Harry Potter short film, The Greater Good, made by Broad Strokes Productions. I came across it on Pinterest and immediately watched it. It takes place about one hundred years before the events of the novels and details the fight between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. I don't watch much fan-made stuff, but if any of it is on the level of this film, I'll have to start. It's seventeen minutes long, and well-worth your time. If the video here doesn't work, it's on their website and also on YouTube.

Mid-October Updates

Mid-October and I'm barely twenty pages into The Mysteries of Udolpho. I blame Supernatural and not without reason...I've been watching somewhere between three and six episodes a day playing catch up. I was doing so well with my reading and then I got myself hooked on this dang show. I'm in season seven so there's not too much more before I'll be able to watch season ten which is airing now. And then I'll get back to reading more. I can't help it, though. Supernatural is well-written and it's almost eclipsed Doctor Who in my list of favorite shows. (Sorry, Doctor!) It's weird to think that I love an American television show that much, but I digress.

I haven't blogged as much because I haven't been reading much, obviously. So we shall see what happens with the rest of the month. Even though I planned on reading Udolpho for RIP IX, I will definitely read it and aim to finish by the end of the year, along with all the other books on my reading list. Otherwise, I'm reading Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, which also perfectly fits the spooky Halloween feel.

So even though the book I chose for RIP IX isn't receiving the attention it ought to, I've been watching Supernatural and reading another spooky book, so I guess I'm still working with the theme and feel of the month. Oh, and cooking with lots and lots of pumpkins and apples. :D

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: books that were hard to read for various reasons

The Broke and the Bookish

It's time for the weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's meme is ten books that you found hard to read, and not simply because of truly difficult subject matter, but perhaps because of the writing or the characters, or you just weren't that interested. I don't have ten books, but here is a list.

1. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
     I hated this book so much because the writing was appalling, and that made the difficult subject matter that much harder to read about because it felt like the author didn't know how to write a good story about anything. I don't like hating on books, especially one with a serious subject like this one, but don't read it, okay? It's horrible. In every way.

2. Go Ask Alice
     Seems silly to put this on my list, but as someone who never had any exposure to the life that was described in this book (real or not), it was difficult.

3. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
     I haven't even finished this yet, so maybe it doesn't count but oh well; my bookmark remains solidly in the center of the book and I just kind of forgot about it because it's just not my type of book. I wanted to read it because obviously Rowling, but I was bored and kind of turned off by the language. I'm sure I'll give it another go at some point, but eh.

4. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
     Well-written, but so hard to read...suicide is never simple or beautiful, but somehow Jay Asher managed to write a beautiful story. It's not even very long but it was emotionally draining.

5. Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
     I loved this book so much, but reading about Lina and what she and her family went through while captive in Siberia...that makes it personal in a way that a history textbook cannot.

6. A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
     Here I go again, writing about how much I hate Martin's books and his need to throw in all the sex and all the violence and all the language. I read the first two in the series and then realized it was pointless because these are not epic fantasy like I thought they would be. So disillusioned. And I could continue the series, but what the heck for? Totally not wasting my time with that mislabeled drivel.


You know what? I don't read much contemporary fiction, and from the other lists I've looked at, that's the kind of book they listed. Most of what I read isn't difficult for any of the normal reasons. And before someone tells me I need to expand my horizons or whatever, this list makes it clear that I have tried and there are a few books that I loved but apparently most I have hated because I couldn't even remember enough to make a full list of ten books. We all have our choices in books, and quite frankly I don't go out and purchase a book just because everybody's reading it...like Gone Girl, which I know is already a movie. It's not my type of book so I'm not necessarily going to pick it up. And there's nothing wrong with that. Go out of your comfort zone, yes, but not so much that you start hating what you read, you know?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan's Curse

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm hooked. This is a good series. I still don't like it as much as Artemis Fowl, and it doesn't even come close to Harry Potter, but it is good. I'm suddenly very invested in the characters and what's happening to them. And have I mentioned how good Riordan is with Greek mythology? Yeah. And as the characters become more developed and the story careens towards doom, I'm seriously hooked. And I have a different reading list for fall. Sigh. Oh well. I'll be finishing this series no matter what.


The Titan's Curse opens with Mrs. Jackson driving Percy, Annabeth, and Thalia to a boarding school. Sounds normal enough, but they aren't really there to attend the place. Actually, Grover, their satyr friend, has found two more half-bloods, Bianca and Nico de Angelo, and the trio is there to make sure they all get to Camp Half-blood safely. Of course, one of the teachers is a manticore in disguise so that complicates matters. A battle ensues while the de Angelo siblings watch in utter confusion. Artemis shows up with her Hunters and suddenly Annabeth is lost, going down over the cliff into the sea with the manticore.

Amidst the aftermath of that battle, Bianca joins the Hunters, Nico asks Percy a lot of annoying questions, and Artemis decides she is going off on a hunt alone, a hunt for the monster that will destroy Olympus, which the manticore spoke about before falling off the cliff with Annabeth still attached to him. So the rest of the group heads for Camp Half-blood, the Hunters grumbling about how they hate boys/men (particularly Zoe Nightshade, who took Bianca under her wing) and don't want to travel with them.

At camp, lots of stuff happens, but the biggest thing is that the Oracle gives a prophecy of her own accord. Like, she actually comes down out of the attic of the big house and recites a prophecy, before sitting back down and becoming pretty much dead again. The prophecy reads as follows:

Five shall go west to the goddess in chains,
One shall be lost in the land without rain,
The bane of Olympus shows the trail,
Campers and Hunters combined prevail,
The Titan's curse must one withstand,
And one shall perish by a parent's hand.

After much fighting it is decided who the members of the quest to rescue Artemis and Annabeth will be, and Percy is not among them. Of course he takes matters into his own hands, especially after Nico pleads with him to go watch over his older sister, Bianca. Then Phoebe, a Hunter chosen to go on the quest, falls ill in a cruel prank. Percy still isn't chosen, but he follows the quest group secretly for a time. In D.C. after a lovely battle with the Nemean lion, Zoe and Thalia grudgingly agree that he is the fifth member of the quest, and they move on.

They travel across the U.S. with various battles, a death, and a little bit of godly help along the way. Eventually they arrive in San Francisco, but what happens there is not quite what they expect.


Annnnnd, as per my rules for no serious spoilers, I'll stop right there. I realize that seems to cut my reviews off short, but rules are rules, and I don't really like giving spoilers.

So this book gets four stars, and I'm going to admit I shed a few tears at the end. Still not the biggest fan of how Riordan writes, but that doesn't matter much to me at this point. I loved this book. Sea of Monsters is my favourite of the three I've read so far, but this one kept up the pace and feel of the other two.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Fall to-read list

The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by one of my favourite book blogs, The Broke and the Bookish. I haven't participated in ages, so here I am, jumping back in with both feet. This week's meme is the top ten books on your fall to-read list. Honestly, I didn't really have a specific fall reading list, so I'm going to admit most of these were pulled off dusty shelves and I'm forcing myself to finally read them. I'm also now coughing from the aforementioned dust. And I apologize in advance for most of the links being to the Kindle editions...

1. The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe
     I'm reading this as part of RIP, R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, and I'm glad I chose it because it's perfect for the cooler weather and I've been wanting to read it for years.

2. Cod, by Mark Kurlansky
     It's not often that I willingly read non-fiction (slowly working on that), but I've discovered that books about food are a clear favourite. I simply gobble them up, pardon the pun. I read Kurlansky's book Salt last year, so I'm giving a chance to his book about my favourite fish to eat.

3. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and Oliver David Relin
     Look, another non-fiction book! This one has been on my radar for awhile now, and I'm finally forcing myself to give it a try.

4. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange
    Seems like a perfectly delicious read for October.

5. Me and Mr. Darcy, by Alexandra Potter
     Why not?

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
     Been sitting on my headboard shelf for far too long so it's time to read it.

7.  Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, edited by Robert L. Mack
     I think I have a slight theme to my fall reads here...spooky and scary. Anyway, Sweeney Todd is one of my favourite musicals of all time and I've got this book that I really, really should read.

8. The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl
     I adored The Dante Club, and this book promises to be just as intense.

9. The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History, by Jason Vuic
     I'm including this one as a nod to my husband, who has been literally shoving this book in my face at least once every couple of months for the last two years and telling me I need to read it. The excerpts he has read to me are downright hilarious, and I do love cars. It's just the whole "I don't read non-fiction" monster rearing its ugly head again.


So there you have it, my top ten books on my fall to-read list. I have a small stack of other books from the library, which will get read, but I didn't really consider them to be top ten. What books do you have on your fall reading list?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music Monday: the Lord of the Rings soundtracks

Mondays are generally a slow day for me as far as writing and blogging go. Often I have not had time to read much over the weekend, and once Monday morning arrives, I feel like there is not much for me to talk about. That's part of the reason why I have blogged heavily for a week or so in the past and then suddenly stopped. Weekends around here are utterly unpredictable, and when we have a chance to do something, we do it. Nothing wrong with that, it's just difficult to keep to a schedule.

Anyway, I've decided that if I post on Mondays, maybe I'll write about something that helps me with writing, specifically music. I don't need much prompting to write about music, honestly. I'm quite passionate about my music and what I like and dislike. As far as writing goes, I will pick my listening inspiration based on what I'm trying to write about. Usually, anyway. On occasion I will listen to some good ol punk rock, such as My Chemical Romance, because they are the best, but most likely the music you will hear leaking from my headphones will be orchestral film soundtracks.

Film soundtracks have always been an obsession of mine. A particular favourite film series is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the music is no different. The emotion and energy contained within Howard Shore's score is enough to sustain me through a whole day of writing. And come on, how do you not find Lord of the Rings inspiring, especially when you're an aspiring fantasy writer like me?

Full soundtrack on YouTube. (Seriously, it's one long three hour and forty minute video. This makes me so happy because though I do have the soundtracks on cd and in my iTunes, I can use this just as easily.)


Of course, I have another reason for featuring Lord of the Rings today; it's Hobbit Day! On this day both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were born in the Shire, so of course we celebrate! So break out the ale and have yourself a hearty extra meal (or four!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Follow Friday: Five blogs I love

Hey, hey, it's Friday. I don't have another book review just yet, though I'm so close to finishing The Titan's Curse. So I've decided to spotlight other blogs I like, mainly fellow book bloggers, but there will be the occasional other kind of blog in the list because I have diverse interests.

So it's Follow Friday, and here are five book blogs that I love!


The Classics Club
This is one of those sites that is more a community than just a blog. Basically you join and commit to reading a list of classics in a certain time frame, and there are memes and activities throughout the year, like read-a-longs and such. I officially joined almost two years ago and then totally forgot about it, but I did make a list which you can find here. I'm going to try to get back into it, starting with The Mysteries of Udolpho which I wrote about the other day here.

The Broke and the Bookish
This is the site that hosts the weekly Top Ten lists that I have done in the past. I haven't participated in a long time, but it's always a fantastic way to find new blogs and new books. Lots of reviews posted here, as well.

Behold the Stars
I have followed this blog for a very long time. I think it was even under a different name at one point. O is an incredible writer with a penchant for classics. She is so in-depth, and she also happens to live in England and has budgerigars as pets. She's just really cool and so many books have ended up on my to read list because she wrote about them.

Novel Readings
Beautiful blog written by an English professor. If I ever want something academic and yet also personal, this is the blog I turn to. It inspired me in my days at college, and it continues to inspire me now.

November's Autumn
I hesitate to include this blog, though it is a favourite. It has not been updated in over a year, and I am quite sad. Katherine would also blog about classic literature and also visual representations of said literature, mostly paintings. I have not even read all of her posts. Also she really loves John Keats, who happens to be my favourite poet.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters

Continuing this journey of reading books I should have read years ago, I'm working my way through Percy Jackson & the Olympians, by Rick Riordan. This is a series that my youngest sister has been telling me to read for a couple years now, much like the Artemis Fowl series. (I'm going to admit that I liked Artemis Fowl a lot more than I like these books, but I digress.)

I was obsessed with Greek mythology when I was a kid. Weird thing for a young girl to be obsessed with, I know, but I was homeschooled and hey, I enjoyed it. So reading ancient myths wasn't really like school for me. And quite frankly, I have always had a soft spot for mythology; Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Norse, Japanese (another favourite), etc. That's another post for another day, though.


The Sea of Monsters is the second book in the Olympians series, following The Lightning Thief. At the start of this book we see Percy Jackson at the end of his seventh grade year of school. Surprisingly, nothing has happened all school year to get him kicked out, which he is amazed by because he's a half-blood, a son of Poseidon. And then gym class happens. And wouldn't you know it, there are Laistrygonian monsters after him. Not because they want to kill him for any higher power, but because they want lunch. Go figure.

Percy and his big bumbling friend Tyson manage to get out of the mess only with the help of Percy's friend Annabeth, also a half-blood, a daughter of Athena. When they finally reach Camp Half-Blood on Long Island, they learn that Thalia's tree, which protects the camp, is dying. The only way to save it is to find the Golden Fleece (yes, that one). That's where Percy and Annabeth's satyr friend Grover comes in. Percy had already been having dreams about him being trapped somewhere by a Cyclops, presumably where the nature magic is plentiful, since Grover is on a search for the god Pan.

Oh hey, that island is where the Gold Fleece is hanging out! But of course, it's in the Sea of Monsters, which is a place not entirely related to the actual sea. In fact, just like Hades and Mt Olympus, the location of the Sea has moved around depending on where the height of Western Civilization is. So while Hades is under Los Angeles and Mt Olympus is above the Empire State Building, the Sea of Monsters is off the cost of Florida somewhere.

Getting into the Sea is kind of a problem, though. After all, one must pass by Scylla and Charybdis. And then there's the Sirens, somewhere in the Sea. And so on. And all this time, the kids have to be worrying about the fact that the Titan Lord Kronos is being awakened from deep in the pit of Tartarus. Like they didn't have enough on their plate already.


I'm not going to tell you any more of the story for spoiler reasons, but I do have a few things I want to say about the book (and series, I guess) as a whole. Like I mentioned before the review section, I adore Greek mythology. And while I'm not sure how I feel about Rick Riordan's writing style (first person writing is just...well it's a preference thing I guess), he has such a wonderful grasp on mythology and I kept squealing with delight at things as they happened. Honestly, this is the kind of story I could have written, though probably not in the first person haha. So I will keep pushing through. I started the third book, The Titan's Curse, last night. I'm already almost halfway through, so there will be a review up by the weekend, I'm sure.

In conclusion, four stars for this book. So far, it's my favourite. Since I've only read two and a half, I don't know if that counts, but I was just really excited about the Golden Fleece and the Sea of Monsters.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Fourth post of the day? Ah, why not. I promise I will slow down; there's just been a lot of catching up to do, and I'm certain a few books have been forgotten somewhere in these reviews... But while I was reading a few of my favourite book blogs, I came across a reading event that I have seen before but did not choose to participate in. It's called R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, or RIP. This will be the ninth year, but I suppose better late than never. Basically, you choose a level of Peril in which to participate, and you have from September 1st to Halloween night to work on and hopefully complete your choice of challenge. You're not required to have a blog or even to blog about the challenge, but that's my plan. :)

I have chosen Peril the Third, which tell you to read just one book that you believe fall within the event parameters; basically any horror or thriller or whatever. At least that's how I've read into it. My book choices are The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe, published in 1794. Fans of Jane Austen will recognize this title; Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey loves this Gothic tale very much.
Udolpho is one of those books that I have been intending to read for years now, basically ever since I came across the title in Northanger Abbey and found it was a real book. I even own an Oxford World's Classics edition. So I'm excited to finally delve into it as part of RIP IX.

The Forbidden Library

It's funny, because when I was a teenager, I found myself wanting to read the books in the adult fantasy and sci-fi section of the library. Now, I'm returning to the children's fantasy that I have always loved. I'm disillusioned with adult books because so many of them are just too inappropriate and weirdly amoral for my taste. That's not to say there aren't good ones, obviously, but I digress. The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is a new kids fantasy book that I happened upon at the library a few weeks ago. It's relatively short; fairly large print and under 400 pages, so I ate it up in a day, three days ago. I have this bad habit of staying up way too late reading, but then at least I get lots of reading done! But on to the review.


from Amazon.com
Alice Creighton doesn't believe in doing things halfway. Even if she dislikes something (such as algebra), she will work as hard as she can to become skilled. One night she is working hard on her algebra homework assigned by her tutor, Miss Juniper, when she hears her father arrive home from work. She creeps down the servant stairs towards the kitchen, but stops short when she hears a voice and a low drone she does not recognize.

Turns out fairies are real, and this one is a real monster-looking thing. He's yellow and black and is threatening Alice's father. She eavesdrops, which she knows she shouldn't have. Not long after this late-night encounter, Mr. Creighton leaves on a journey by ship. News comes back that the ship has gone down. Alice is sent to live with her uncle on his creepy and eerily silent estate, The Library.

Geryon is an incredibly old man that Alice thinks cannot possibly be her uncle. He also tells her that the actual library on the property is off-limits unless she is with someone. This library happens to be an unattached building away from the main house; it recedes into the woods, so one cannot get a sense of how big it actually is.

One night Alice decides to investigate the library alone, after she has been taken into it by the oddly bland servant girl Emma. She meets a talking cat, Ashes, and suddenly discovers that things are not at all as they seem. Geryon is a Reader, a type of wizard who uses the power of books and words as his magic. And he is in the midst of a small war. And Alice finds she, too, has these magic powers, which she realizes will help her find the fairy again and discover what really happened to her father.


As far as I can tell, The Forbidden Library is actually the first in a series, and I have to say I am quite excited. Django Wexler tells this story so well, and he also uses the word susurrus twice so I kind of have to like him. Anyway, I give this book five stars (yes, I liked it that much) and eagerly await the next installment.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I'm just a little behind the times in that I finished A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket just four days ago, on the 13th. I do have to laugh at the irony of finishing a series chock full of bad luck, with thirteen books, on the 13th. Thank goodness it wasn't a Friday. Anyway, I suppose I ought to preface this by saying I probably read the first few books in their entirety while I was shelving books at the Bloomington Public Library. And I have seen the movie, which I enjoyed for various reasons, despite it not really covering the extent of the Baudelaire's plight. So there's that. But I decided I would begin at the beginning again, and so I did.


Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are enjoying a gloomy morning at Briny Beach when they receive the bad news that their parents have perished in a fire that also utterly destroyed their mansion. They go to live with Count Olaf, who is *supposedly* a relative. Clearly, he doesn't care about the children. In fact, he is trying to get hold of their apparently enormous fortune. Oh joy. But these children are resourceful. Violet is an amateur inventor, Klaus is an avid researcher, and Sunny is a baby who loves to bite things. Between the three of them, and the use of a library, they manage to escape Olaf's clutches. And so on, and so on. In every book, Olaf disguises himself and comes after the children, always managing to be defeated by their skills, though certainly not with the help of any adult. The adults in these books are particularly ridiculous, because they are wishy-washy people who believe everything and nothing and are basically idiots.

The children are sent to their Uncle Monty, their Aunt Josephine, a horribly run sawmill, a very strange school, a townhouse with a fake elevator, and a really creepy and stupid village before finally ending up on their own. Then they set out across the hinterlands in search of somewhere safe, even though they are fairly certain there is nowhere safe, at least not until Olaf is finally gone. They then volunteer at a half-built hospital (really, what is with these people???), disguise themselves as freaks at a circus, and suddenly find themselves alone in the mountains. Meanwhile, the mysteries about their parents and an organization only known as VFD keep piling up.

In the mountains, they finally reach the last known safe place, only to discover that it too has been burned down. It is here, in book ten, The Slippery Slope, that things start to make some sense. The children also struggle with doing the right thing, and I found the morality struggle incredibly interesting. Though they are only kids (Violet is 14, Klaus turns 13 at some point, and Sunny is probably around 2 or 3), they know that there are things that are wrong and that doing those things doesn't really make them any better than Count Olaf and his troupe.

By book eleven, The Grim Grotto, the children have really begun to take things into their own hands, and have also met with other members of VFD, discovering more and more instances where good people have done bad things, and bad people have done good things. In book twelve, which was probably my favourite, The Penultimate Peril, they finally reach the Hotel Denouement, which is laid out like a huge library. Almost everyone from their past is there, and of course, bad things happen and the building goes up in flames. But they escape...with Count Olaf. It seems for a time, that they are on the same side. Yet the children do not want anything to do with him, they want to be truly distanced from him, but they also don't want to commit murder.

And then comes The End, the thirteenth and final book in this madcap series. the Baudelaires wash up on an island where they are told "everything eventually washes up on these shores" which has a distinct air of finality to it. And unfortunately, if I told you any more, I would be truly spoiling it for those who have not read it. All I have to say is that this book confused me more than the rest put together and I was disappointed in how it ended.


Lemony Snicket, or more accurately Daniel Handler, is a master of writing. The tale of the Baudelaires was overly ridiculous most of the time, but throughout the series there is an awesome emphasis on reading. In fact, most of the names of places and people (and indeed, the babytalk Sunny uses) are taken directly from literature. I'm actually glad I read these as an adult, because I think I understood every single literary reference that was hidden in the books.

It wasn't my favourite kids series ever, but it was a fun one to read, and I found myself alternately laughing and shaking my head in annoyance within seconds of each action. And just like in real life, stories confuse us and end abruptly, with no good explanation.

Four stars for the series as a whole.

Twitter-style book reviews no. 2

I had intended to just write book reviews on my personal blog, Alice in Faerieland, but then I realized I actually want to keep all my bookish writings separate. Occasionally I will cross post, but I'm too attached to this blog to quit entirely. That being said, I cannot write full reviews of all the books I have read recently (meaning in the last year or so), so here is another quick list.


The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
      Fairly good opening to an incredibly popular series. Percy Jackson is a likeable boy, as are his friends. And Riordan (despite the fact that I don't much like his writing style) has a fantastic grasp on Greek mythology, which I greatly appreciate because I was obsessed with it when I was a kid. (I feel bad putting this book in this list when I just finished the second one and am going to write a full review, but I read this last summer so the details are not as fresh in my mind....)

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
     Where do I even begin with this one? It was a confusing and honestly hellish ride, but I absolutely loved it. Mitchell has a unique way of showing how we as humans are all connected in ways we may never know. I truly wish I had actually penned a review upon finishing the book, because there's no way I would get it right a year later. Sigh. It's definitely worth reading, though. The film...ugh. No.

Fruits Basket, Volumes 1-4, by Natsuki Takaya (link to volume one)
     Ah, manga, how I love thee. And I wish I had managed to keep up on reading Fruits Basket because I may need to reread these four volumes before moving on. The series is long, but manga is easily consumed. I find Fruits Basket to be an adorable tale, and that's really all I have to say at this point, haha. Must read the rest.

Translucent, Volume 1, by Kazuhiro Okamoto
     All I recall about this manga is that it was adorably romantic and the main character, Shizuka, has Translucent Syndrome, which causes parts of her body to basically go invisible over time. I don't know how many volumes there are of this and I intend to find them.

Pita-Ten, Volumes 1-3, by Koge-Donbo
     Yes, I was on a manga kick for awhile last summer. It happens. Often. And then I discover that my library only has a few volumes of a certain series and totally forget about it until I go back and look at what I read on GoodReads. Anyway, Pita-Ten is one of those that I feel like was written mainly for the cutesy factor. Misha, the main character, is an adorably hyperactive angel who is living on earth, and given her hyperactiveness, hilarity ensues. The translation is a little over the top, which I have noticed my fellow GoodReads people agree with, but oh well. Must find and read the rest of these. I truly dislike leaving a series unfinished, unless I hate it with a passion (I'm looking at you, A Song of Ice and Fire.)

     I truly have no words for this utter masterpiece of a retelling of one of my favourite movies into the gorgeous prose of one of my favourite writers of all time. Ian Doescher has created a moment of perfection. This is worth reading aloud, by the way.

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
     This is one of those YA novels that I found at the bookstore and brought home and left sit for months on my dresser. It is a historical novel, an account of a Lithuanian teenage girl and her family who are deported to Siberia during WWII. The writing is lyrical, Lina is a truly believable character, and the situations these people went through made me cry. I don't even want to tell you anything else, just read it.

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
     This was a gorgeous and sad book. Clay, a high school student, receives a set of tapes that turn out to be from Hannah Baker, a girl whom he had cared for who had committed suicide. The tapes reveal her reasons for killing herself. It is a chilling account of how lies and rumors can hurt a person...and it makes you never want to spread a terrible rumor ever again.

The Towers, by Jordan Jeffers
     First off, one of my best friends painted the cover of this book, so there's that. Second, this is epic fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien. And third, it was sort of difficult to read at times, but it was one of the most beautiful fantasy novels I have ever read, with true sacrifice being a central theme. This is one of those that I will read again, and will most likely write a more detailed review. I cannot do it justice right now.

Death Note, Volumes 1-12, by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
    Oh look, a manga series that I managed to finish! This series gripped me in a way that I haven't experienced recently with manga. It was fast paced, hilarious at times, and raised many interesting questions about the morality of killing. Light Yagami, the main character, is a high school student who discovers a notebook which turns out to be a Death Note of a shinigami, a Japanese god of death. He learns he can kill anyone whose name and face he knows, so he begins to rid the world of criminals. Soon the Japanese Police are on the trail for this killer, known only as Kira, with the help of a teenage (I assume) genius by the name of L, who happens to be my favourite character. This is a series that I would recommend to people who have never even read any manga, honestly.


Okay, I'm caught up now, with the exception of a few that I most recently finished. I will be writing complete reviews of those, including A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket. Not each book separately, though!