Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Most Recent Library Requests and Holds

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

I know, I know, a bit similar to last week. But also different. When I request books from the library they're often the "I'm not sure if I'll like this and if I hate it I know I'll regret buying it because money doesn't grow on trees, but I also really hope I'll love it" variety.

1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: I don't have a great track-record with debuts, but this sounds pretty fantastic.

2. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: I didn't love her Something Strange and Deadly trilogy, but this does sound more up my alley.

3. Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan: I am actually really hoping to love this one, but I'm not entirely sure if I'd be comfortable buying it without knowing what I'm getting myself into first.

4. The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa: While I liked The Immortal Rules, I'd like to see where this series goes before deciding if I want to purchase it or now.

5. The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa: See above.

6. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken: This one is actually in my hands right now. I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not, having not read any of the author's work before, and being a bit uncertain of the premise despite my love of time travel books.

7. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: Reading Illuminae last year reminded me that I hadn't finished this trilogy. While I didn't love it, I also didn't hate it.

8. The Queen's Choice by Cayla Kluver: Bored bored bored. I was not impressed with the first 70% of this novel. I only found myself remotely engaged toward the end.

9. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly: I read and reviewed this a while ago.

10. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater: Confession: I audiobooked Sinner before reading any the rest of The Wolves of Mercy Falls. I wanted to read it after I finished Shiver, Linger, and Forever, though. P. S. The audiobook is fantastic, you should all definitely listen to it.

Do you use libraries? Does your local library have a wonderful request feature? Does it sometimes take 87 years for holds to come in?

Saturday, January 23, 2016


I'm hesitant to call this a new "feature" on this blog, per say, but "Blogademics" is now going to be the title of a series of mini-essays I'm writing about my experience as a student, as a blogger, and a student blogger. (I just really like making up words, okay?)

These are born mainly from me thinking a lot about how I blog- my process is ever-evolving, but there are common threads. By and large, this will be a mini-essay collection about juggling blogging with school, and all the weird ways in which they have and do overlap in my life. I did say I'd talk more about my life this year, right? (Look at me, attempting to implement a New Year's resolution!)

I love being in school, now that I'm not in high school (your time in high school will really only be the best years of your life if you do the rest of your life wrong). I've been in school for over 80% of my life and I've internalised some pretty weird thought paths. Conventional education really does train you to think a certain way, to do things a certain way, to follow a certain path in a certain way. Blogging isn't like that. It also isn't not like that. And these posts are my chance to muse on that.

You can expect:
  • discussions about reading, blogging, and transferable skills
  • panic about grad school applications
  • amusing rants about high school English (at least, I hope they'll be amusing)
  • complaining about deadlines
  • probably mentions of my favourite blogs/ bloggers
  • undoubtedly double negatives
I'm super excited to launch this featurette/ essay series/ quest/ thing! I've never really done something like this before, so it'll be an adventure. I hope you'll have as much fun reading these as I do writing them!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

I'm going to go with some of the books I've put on my Goodreads TBR list recently.

1. The Darkest Days Club by Alison Goodman: I don't know why I didn't explore this one before (the cover? the marketing style?) but I read the synopsis this weekend and it sounds like a lot of fun!

2. Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor: I do love time travel! I actually have an eGalley of this one, I'm really looking forward to starting it.

3. Front Lines by Michael Grant: This sounds like a really interesting and intense alternative history.

4. A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry: The cover kind of reminds me of A Hundred Years of Solitude (which was such a weird book), and the story sounds sort of magical realism-y

5. Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima: I read the Seven Kingdoms/Shattered Realms series a 86 million years ago (okay, three), and I think it will be fun to revisit the world.

6. Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout: I love the cover of this one! I'm hoping that this one will be a really fast paced read. I'm trying not to judge this author based on Daniel X, which I didn't love.

7. The Square Rood of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood: I really like the saturated green in the cover, and this sounds like it could be a great read- almost a contemporary, but not.

8. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: I wasn't crazy about Something Strange and Deadly, this sounds a lot more up my alley.

9. Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey: I was mostly drawn by the fact that our heroine is a nineteenth century lady with scientific aspirations.

10. The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong: This one sounds suspenseful!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Review: These Shallow Graves

Title: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Release Date: October 27, 2015

A Quick Introduction: Jo Montfort is about to graduate finishing school, as proper young lady set to marry a wealthy man to improve her family's standing in society- and to abandon her dream of being a reporter, until her father is found dead. His death is ruled an accident, but Jo doesn't believe it, and begins to investigate. The deeper Jo digs, the less that makes sense, and the more she wants a life that she's been told is impossible.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: An enjoyable historical mystery about a girl trying to solve a mystery and find her place in the world.

Review: This book is really hard for me to rate, because there were quite a few plot lines, which, though interconnected, somehow ended up quite separate in my mind. I really enjoyed the mystery in this one (bring on the early forensics!) and didn't like the romance nearly as much.

Jo is a complex character. She's naive but strangely adaptable, vulnerable but unshakable in her convictions. While I overall appreciated her, there were times that I slipped out of being connected to her. It was generally during her romantic dilemmas, because I found I didn't quite understand her feelings about her love interest- I personally didn't like him very much. That aside, I did sympathize struggle between what she'd been raised to do and what she really wanted to do. I admired her tenacity in going after what she wanted, and the lengths she was willing to go to in order to get the truth. I was definitely rooting for her.

The mystery was probably my favourite part of the story. I love seeing fledgling forensics being used (Murdoch Mysteries, anyone?) in historical mysteries, so that was fantastic for me! The entire mystery aspect was just so enjoyable for me to read- though I was somewhat expecting the plot twist, but I was really expecting it, if that makes sense. I was still reasonably surprised but the conclusion to that aspect of the story.

I struggled with the historical aspect as a setting- it didn't always feel real to me, though the characters generally felt of the time. Sometimes I think they felt like there were actors against a backdrop, rather than characters in the gritty real world.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading this one. Though there were some aspects that jolted me out of the story or didn't ring quite true, I loved the mystery!

If These Shallow Graves is your cup of tea, you might also like A Mad, Wicked Folly (for a determined heroine in a repressive time) or The Mary Quinn Mysteries (for a historical mystery and a girl struggling to carve a place for herself).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. The Next Together by Lauren James

2. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

3. Soundless by Richelle Meade

4. A Madness So Discreet Mindy McGinnis

5. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

6. Slasher Girls and Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

7. Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

8. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

9. The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

10. Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Review: Lock & Mori

Title: Lock & Mori
Author: Heather W. Petty
Series: Lock & Mori
Volume: 1
Genre: Mystery, Realistic Fiction

A Quick Introduction: When brilliant high school students James "Mori" Moriary and Sherlock Holmes meet at the scene of a murder, they click. When Sherlock challenges her to solve the murder before he does, Mori accepts. They only have one rule: no secrets- they have to share every bit of information they find about the case. It isn't long before Mori discovers something that makes her break it.

This review is of an ARC copy provided by the publisher.

Out of Ten: 5/10

Review at a Glance: An overly convenient plot and frustratingly inconsistent narrator left me unimpressed by this novel.

Review: I continually search for Sherlock Holmes retellings, tributes, and spin-offs that will impress me. This one... didn't, unfortunately. I wasn't impressed with it as an adaptation- the way the story was told, and the story itself, just didn't work for me. Though I did get an ARC copy at the Book Blogger Ontario meet-up this year, I didn't end up reading it until later.

The mystery itself worked well enough, though it was not particularly elegantly plotted. I find with a lot of mysteries, especially YA, authors have a tendency to make things almost too neat. There isn't enough work done to reach the conclusion. The line is crossed between making intuitive leaps and fabricating connections where none actually exist. Things are just a bit too convenient for me to suspend disbelief on. This did happen in this novel, to an extent, and it wasn't carried by the other aspects of the story.

What I didn't really enjoy was the characters and their relationships. The relationship between Lock and Mori felt really rushed, and I found I really didn't understand the motives behind the decisions of the main character (Mori) sometimes. The character that she was set up as didn't seem consistent with her decisions (I suppose her character felt inconsistent).

I recognise that this novel had some strengths, but I didn't overall enjoy it as much as I was hoping to. The characters and plot didn't ring true for me, and the mystery didn't have much of a flow. As an adaptation, I wasn't thrilled with how the characters were translated.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Challenges

Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2016 Alexa Loves Books Hello Chelly button

I'm a huge fantasty reader already, but I figured it would still be fun to challenge myself. This year I'm going to try and read 40 books that are fantasy in some way. The Flights of Fantasy challenge is hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly.

The Re-Read Challenge, hosted by Belle of the Literati.  I took part in this one last year, and it was great (I reread kind of obsessively anyway, but, again, it was kind of fun to incorporate a challenge into it). Last year I set a goal of 10 books, which I exceeded. I'm still going to keep 10 books as my goal for this year.

2016 Reading Challenge

I've challenged myself to read 100 books again for the Goodreads challenge. It's the same number I chose last year, though I didn't quite meet it, I still believe it's completely withing my abilities- I just wasn't completely focused last year.

That Artsy Reader Girl

I took a year off of The Debut Author Challenge, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, but I actually found I kind of missed it, so I'm giving it a try again this year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Series Spotlight: The Spiderwick Chronicles

I read these wonderful little books earlier this year. My reasons were two-fold: 
  1. I've become very fond of Holly Black's writing in the past year or so. I've always been drawn to novels that delve into folklore, and I really liked her treatment of the fae in The Darkest Part of the Forest
  2. I love Tony DiTerlizzi's artwork SO. MUCH. His illustrations for the covers (and, as I was to discover, contents) of The Spiderwick Chronicles are enchanting and creepy, managing to be both charming and slightly Gothic. 
Though these were being released while I was in the desired age group, and I saw them in my elementary school library. We rubbed elbows, but despite being pretty much the exact target demographic for strange, magical, wonderfully illustrated books, I hadn't read them. Perhaps it was because I hadn't get realised that I was the exact target demographic for such books. Whatever the reason, I'm glad that I got the chance to experience them now.

The Spiderwick Chronicles tell the story of the Grace siblings, Mallory, Jared, and Simon. They move to their Aunt's old house after their mother and father separate and quickly discover that there's something very strange going on in rickety old building. When Jared finds an old book filled with drawing and notes on fantastical creatures that live, unseen, alongside humans, they find themselves in the middle of a clash between supernatural creature, who are interested in the guide for their own reasons.

I bought the Spiderwick Chronicles: The Completely Fantastical Edition, which is a bind-up of the five original Spiderwick books, plus three short stories and some bonus art. It really was a quick and easy world, but I still found the world delightful. While it is very much a Middle Grade novel, with the age of the protagonists and the nature of the plot, it still worked for me. I loved the bonus are as well! It was great to be able to see some of Tony DiTerlizzi's thumbnail sketches and process work. If you'd like to read Spiderwick, especially as an older reader, I'd recommend this edition. It almost feels like reading one longer, complete work, rather than reading five very short books (all are under 200 pages, I believe) in rapid order.

Because I am weak, I also picked up the original hardcovers (the box set was under $25) on Book Outlet a while ago. I just really love the look of them (especially the covers).

And that brings us to one of my favourite books of 2015, looks-wise: Arthur Spiderwick's Guide to the Fantastical World Around You

This is a companion to the Spiderwick novels, filled with wonderful illustrations and facts about the creatures encountered by the Grace siblings in the stories. I was so excited when I found this one on Book Outlet! In addition to being a really interesting reading experience, I LOVED the watercolours in this book. You can see a couple of them on Tony DiTerlizzi's website. (that's where I got the images above).

Overall, I really highly reccomend this series, and not just to Middle Grade readers. The creativity of the series makes it an enjoyable read for anyone who appreciates faerie stories and beautiful art.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top Ten Resolutions I Have For 2016

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

A lot of these are going to be a hold-over from last year, because I'm not excellent at New Years resolutions:

1. Do more reading challenges. Even if I don't succeed at all of them, it pushes me a little out of my reading comfort zone. Perhaps not the Goodreads challenge though...

2. Comment more. I still feel sort of weird about commenting on other people's blogs? Is that just me? (Because, you know, if you feel weird about commenting on my blog, you'll obviously comment to let me know. That's clearly how things work.)

3. Organise my Goodreads. I have reviews that I haven't posted on Goodreads, I have duplicates in my lists... suffice to say it isn't exactly pretty over there.

4. Do more non-review posts. I didn't do enough posts that were just spontaneous, one-off posts this year, but I enjoyed the ones that I did (like this one... I got to show off my amazing skills with Microsoft Paint too).

And I have some new ones:

5. Read more non-fiction. I read a little nonfiction this year, and I've really enjoyed it so far (popular science).

6. I really need to post reviews more often. I feel as though I've fallen out of the habit recently, and I'd like to review a lot more in the next year.

7. Read more, even when things are busy. Even when I'm busy, I really want to find time to read, because its really something that a enjoy.

8. Maybe throw in a couple non-book posts now and then?

9. More book events, if I can. I really enjoyed the Book Blog Ontario meet-up this year, and I'd like to go again.

10. Related to doing more challenges, do monthly updates on my challenges.

Friday, January 1, 2016

6th Annual End Of Year Survey

The End-of-Year Survey is an annual survey hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

2015 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 82
Number of Re-Reads: 13+
Genre You Read The Most From: YA fantasy. 

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
Illuminae by Amie Koffman and Jay Kristoff. I adore this book so much, and I kind of want to gush about it to everyone ever. And I'm not generally very into gushing.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Anything from my "The Year in Disappointments" list, really. I was especially let down by The Sin-Eater's Daughter

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

The Silmarillion! I'm still a little surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It is very much outside of my usual novel choices, but I love exploring storytelling with this novel.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Best (Full) Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater
Best Start to a Series: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Best Sequel: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Best Conclusion: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson, maybe?

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Probably Maria Dahvanna Headley or Jay Kristoff.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I already mentioned The Silmarillion, but I've also been getting more into popular science. I read At Water's Edge by Neil Shubin recently, and really enjoyed it.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

ILLUMINAE. But since you're probably getting tired of hearing about that, I also really went through The Fixer.

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A lot of them. I've discussed how I'm kind of an obsessive re-reader. But definitely The Darkest Part of the Forest and Six of Crows.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

So many beautiful covers this year! But, because I have to mention it somewhere, I'm going to show off this one, because not only is the cover art beautiful, but there are illustration everywhere and they're all lovely.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Isabel Culpepper and Cole St. Clair from Sinner, probably. They're both very... raw? I guess.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

This is always a hard question for me... possibly Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater?

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. I read this lovely bind-up edition of these books. I didn't read them as a kid, but I really enjoyed them this year.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I'm stock on this one. Probably something from Sinner. That book is very quotable.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest: Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Holly Black and Tony DeTerlizzi
Longest: Winter by Marissa Meyer

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Illuminae. The storytelling style made it GREAT for plot twists.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I had to think about this one a lot, actually. I decided to go with what immediately came to mind which was Cinder & Kai from The Lunar Chronicles. I think I mostly like them because, for all the chaos and drama in every other aspect of their lives, they're pretty low-drama as a couple.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Grace siblings from Spiderwick, maybe?

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Probably The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black or Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. Or Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I first heard about The Martian through recommendation, and I quite enjoyed that.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Another year, another complete lack of fictional crushes.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

The Wrath and the Dawn, I think, unless I can count Magonia.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Magonia is definitely up there, the setting is so bizarre and almost dream-like, but also very vivid.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Fixer had its humourous moments, and The Scorpion Rules, despite having some pretty grim subject matter made me laugh as well. (Is it worrying that an amoral AI and I have a very similar sense of humour? Discuss.) Six of Crows had its moment too.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Illuminae was an emotional roller coaster for me.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Maybe The Nest by Kenneth Oppel? It is MG, but I think that its a read that could be enjoyed by more than just the 9-12 audience.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

See above comment about Illuminae being an emotional roller coaster.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Since you're probably tired of hearing me go on and on about Magonia and Illuminae, I really liked returning to the world of Seraphina when I read Shadow Scale early in 2015.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Most recently Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Grey. That ending. I KNEW it was coming, but arg.

Bookish/ Blogging Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

Hmm, what did I discover this year? I really should keep track of when I discovered what. Recently I've really liked Alexa Loves Books, but I've been following her for a while. Also Happy Indulgence, Bookish Serendipity, and Readers in Wonderland.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

I really enjoy writing reviews for books that I loved, so my review of Illuminae stands out to me.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The "I have a love-hate relationship with my Goodreads Challenge" post was a lot of fun for me to write. I was thinking about this the other day, because I didn't quite reach my challenge this year.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to the Book Blog Ontario Meet-up this year, which was a new and exciting thing for me. There aren't that many book events near where I live, and even fewer that I can get to in a reasonable amount of time (public transit in Ontario moves like a snail on a good day). It was fantastic, if a little overwhelming, and I'm really hoping that I get the chance to go next year, if they decide to do it again.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I don't know? There were a lot of really great moments. I'm also blogging over at Paper Boulevard, which has been exciting and challenging.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

The intense bouts of apathy that I occasionally experience toward book blogging. Blogging at Paper Boulevard has been challenging, just because it puts another thing on my to do list.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Maybe some of my reviews? They sometimes take a lot of time to write, so I'm always really grateful to get pageviews on them!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Book Outlet has resulted in even more overflowing bookshelves.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I didn't quite complete my Goodreads challenge this year (due to a combination of things... chief among which were school, rereading, and terrible time management).

I completed my reread challenge in the first couple months (turn out I reread a lot more than 10 books in a year).

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Under a Painted Sky, for sure.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

The Forbidden Orchid by Sarah Biggs Waller, about twenty others...

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Rebel of the Sands, or the Star-Touched Queen.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski...

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Get better at keeping a consistent schedule.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

One day I will request more books and have an actual answer to this question...

- See more at: http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/2015/12/6th-annual-end-of-year-survey-2015-edition.html#sthash.ZDOUYtIC.dpuf