Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top 10 Halloween Edition

Top 10 Halloween Edition
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I don't read a ton of scary books.  And I don't watch a ton of horror movies.  And I'm not really a super-Halloween enthusiast, so this list was a little tricky.  Instead of trying to find 10 items for one topic, I decided to just do a mashup of all things Halloween.  There's a little bit of this and a little bit of that, all coming together to form a decent Top Ten Tuesday.

Happy Halloween (and Reading!)  What's on your list?

Scary Books
1) Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story
2) Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

The Splendor Falls
3) The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
4) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1)
5) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Scary Movies
Image result for monster squad movie poster
6) Monster Squad
Image result for hocus pocus movie poster
7) Hocus Pocus
Image result for watcher in the woods movie poster
8) Watcher in the Woods

9) The Cabin in the Woods
Bookish Costumes
 Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter  literary costumes vol. I
10) Moaning Myrtle - Harry Potter series

How cute is this ALICE IN WONDERLAND costume?! http://writersrelief.com/:
11) "Big" Alice - Alice in Wonderland

Homemade Book Fairy! So doing this for Peyton next year!!!
12) A "Book" Fairy

How amazing is this Luna Lovegood Halloween costume?:
13) Luna Lovegood

Mary Poppins costume:
14) Mary Poppins

Where’s Waldo and Wilma? | Community Post: 24 Awesome Kids' Book-Inspired Halloween Costumes For Grownups
15) Where's Waldo

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Rithmatist

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Info: Tor Teen, copyright 2013, 378 pages

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist.  Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings.  Rithmatists are humanity's only defense against the Wild Chalklings.  Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebraska, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalk maker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice.  Then students start disappearing - kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood.  Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery - one that will change Rithmatics - and their world - forever.

~Goodreads Description

I had no idea that Brandon Sanderson was super popular.  And then I went to YallFest last year and was mesmerized by the long line of people waiting to get his autograph.  So I returned to my library and checked the circulations.  Nope.  The craze hadn't hit Greenwood yet.  And then BOOM everything started checking out.  Why?  Well, I not quite sure.  Maybe it just took a little extra time for word to spread throughout the Heartland, but I had to check it out for myself.

This particular title was recommended to me by a teen who assured me I would like it.  He was not wrong.  I did like it.  It didn't knock my socks off or leave me scampering to get my hands on another Sanderson title immediately, but it was imaginative, intelligent, and complex enough to keep me reading.

It's America...but not really.  What we know as states are islands, and on one particular island are wild chalklings, magical line drawings waging war against trained soldiers known as Rithmatists.  Rithmatists can create wards and creatures of their own (made of chalk), and their sacrifice is helping keep the other islands safe.  Joel wants desperately to be a Rithmatist, but he wasn't chosen by "the Master" at the age of 8, so he is just a ho-hum regular boy studying at a prestige academy, the custodians son among rich socialites.  When some Rithmatist students are violently kidnapped, Joel uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that puts him in the middle of magical world.

I liked Joel's tenacity and loyalty.  While life had not turned out as he might have hoped, he continued moving forward, finding ways to study Rithmancy without abilities.  He utilized research to better understand.  He was a scholar.  A student.  And it was refreshing seeing a teen protagonist take that seriously.  There is also a strong message about power, courage, and teamwork throughout that I really enjoyed.  Like Harry Potter, the "magic" was secondary to the characters and their mission.

Four years is a long time to wait for a sequel.  Hopefully the Goodreads note that it's coming in 2017 is correct.  If there's time, maybe I'll try to tackle another Sanderson soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Thousandth Floor

Author: Katharine McGee
Info: HarperCollins, copyright 2016, 448 pages

New York City as you've never seen it before.

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky.  A glittering vision of future where anything is possible-if you want it enough.

Leda Cole's flawless exterior belies a secret addiction-to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson's beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylan Myer's job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world-and a romance-she never imagined...but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone.  But when he's hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect.  The girl who seems to have it all-yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world.  But when you're this high up, there's nowhere to go but down...

~Goodreads Description

This was not my kind of book.  If I had actually read the blurb on the back or any reviews - at all - (especially those that compared it to Gossip Girl), I might have figured that out before starting, but I got sucked in by a pretty cover.  It has happened before, and I'm sure it will happen again.  There are A LOT of pretty covers out there.

It's a futuristic New York where the entire city is a tower.  Decent premise.  The higher up in the tower you live, the more affluent your life.  Okay.  Enter high school teens with too much money, too much time on their hands, no parental supervision and...two step siblings in love with each other.

I'm out!  In my humble opinion, incest (even step-incest) is NEVER an appropriate plot line.  Ever.  It's icky.  SO icky.  (The only argument that could possibly sway me is when grown adult become "step-siblings" because their parents fall in love, but only after the grown adults have already been together.  That is sometimes okay.)  It's just so weird.  And icky!

There is also the comparison that can be made to the recent Ben Wheatley film, High Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston.  The movie was crazy.  I only understood a smidgen of what was actually going on, and it kind of freaked me out to be honest.  It had a very similar premise.  There is a tower.  Everyone wants to live in the tower.  There is a hierarchy in the tower by floor.  No one is really happy.  And chaos ensues. (In the case of High Rise, chaos includes murder, adultery, really disturbing parties, no trash service, and the death of innocent animals.)  Here's the thing.  You don't have to live in the tower.  If you're unhappy, leave the tower.  McGee alludes to places outside of the tower to live in The Thousandth Floor.  New York City isn't the last city standing.

This type of "realistic" fiction just isn't for me.  The tower concept was cool (kind of made me think of The Jetson's Movie with public transportation and a mall in the same "building" where people live), and the writing itself was decent, but I just didn't care about any of the characters or their problems.  Or the incest.  Icky.

I don't think I'll be continuing on in the series, but I know there is an audience for this book.  There are countless teen readers who enjoy lots of drama, the rich and the famous, and tons of romance.  Those are the teens that would love this recommendation.

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