Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: A 24 Hour Switch

Top 10 Tuesday
Top 10 Characters I'd Like to Switch
Places With for 24 Hrs
(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I thought this one would be pretty easy, but now I'm not so sure.  Does this mean that I would be the character through the entire book, or just through the parts of my choosing?  If I can enjoy only those particular moments I'm crazy about and then leave before trouble inevitably strikes, sure, I'd switch places with a character.  But in the same breath, as I mentioned in a previous post ("How do you read?"), I read to escape and watch the story unfolding like a movie, not interjecting myself into the mix.  So would I really want to enter a book?  Would it be the same?

I guess I'm getting off topic.  So what 10 characters would I like to switch places with for 24 hours?  Hmmm...

1) Arwen (The Lord of the Rings) Because how bad could it really be being the most beautiful elf in the land and falling in love with Aaragorn, especially if he were to really look anything like Viggo Mortensen.

2) Anna (Anna and the French Kiss)  Because Boarding School would be interesting, especially with the companionship of an adorable boy with a British accent.

3 & 4) Finley Jayne (The Girl in the Steel Corset) and Celaena (Throne of Glass) Because I'd like to know how it feels to have some serious butt kicking abilities.

5) Meghan (The Iron Fey series) Because while the thought of approaching Queen Mab of the Winter Court terrifies me, living for a while in the land of faerie with Puck and Ash could be a lot of dangerous fun.

6) Lavender Brown (Harry Potter) Because I'd get to spend quality time with Ron Weasley, even though he would shortly break my heart.

7) Dorothy (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) Because while there's no place quite like home, traveling through Oz with a lion, a scarecrow, and a tin woodman would be the thing of dreams.

8) Stephanie (Skulduggery Pleasant) Because how awesome would it be to do battle with a fire-throwing, skeleton detective?

9) Puck (The Scorpio Races) Because I would like to know the courage of fighting for my family and riding in a race of man-eating horses with brooding Sean.

10)  Cimorene (Dealing With Dragons) Because living with dragons and scaring off unwanted male suitors can be a good time.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Summer of Nerdom...and Awesomeness

I've never really tried to hide the fact that there is a deep nerdiness living inside of me.  I'm easily amused, completely nostalgic, and I just enjoy life and laughing, especially at myself.  Thankfully I live in a family that embraces and shares a bit of that zest as well.

I spent a week in Orlando, Florida with my parents and brother recently.  When the plans were made several months ago I made the statement that I could not go to Orlando and not visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I was even willing to walk if it came to that.  They didn't take much persuading, but when I mentioned that I also wanted to wear my Hogwarts robes, the line was drawn in the sand.

I was able to maintain a bit of dignity walking the streets of Hogsmeade, but inside I felt like a kid who finally got their letter from Hogwarts.  The attraction was UNBELIEVABLE, the Butterbeer was DELICIOUS, and the company was EXCEPTIONAL.  Not bad for another literary field trip checked off my list (because let's face it, this is as close to Hogwarts as I'm ever going to get!)
 


Friday, July 27, 2012

TGIF: Christmas in July

TGIF: Christmas in July
(Hosted by Greadsbooks.com)

Friday Feature:
Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?

Don't tell, but when new books come into the library, I like to steal them before the teens get to read them.  I justify this by calling it professional development.  How can I suggest a book if I haven't read it?  How can I have the intelligent discussion with a teen who wants to talk books if I haven't been able to check it out?  I read the books as quickly as I can, and if a teen does ask for a title, I bring it back immediately, but I like to be the first to crack open the book, smell that clean new book smell, and turn un-smudged pages.

Here are a few that I will be stealing immediately this fall...

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
September 4, 2012

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls. 

~Amazon Description~

The Diviners by Libba Bray 
September 18, 2012

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
 
~Amazon Description~

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
November 6, 2012

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

~Amazon Description~

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Obsidian Blade

By Pete Hautman
3 / 5 Gnomes

The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey— from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.

~Amazon Description~

Pete Hautman is an author of variety.  From tales of boy meets girl to frozen wasteland penitentiaries, to his newest with time travel and evil brewing beyond a hidden veil, Hautamn can do it all.  The Obsidian Blade is complicated.  It's science fiction...sometimes that happens.  Complicated isn't necessarily bad, it just takes some work.

In a post-apocalyptic, post-digital world a discorporeal, ghost-like artist dreamed of a technology that would allow her discorporeal, ghost-like brethren to visit important times in the past to connect them to their humanity.  But opening a portal in one time leaves it vulnerable to another.  Tucker had no idea what lay beyond in the shimmering, ethereal disc that his father disappeared into, but it would change his life and his destiny forever.

Like most trilogy starters, world building can be difficult and putting the plot into context can be even more difficult.   Hautman stumbles a little, but redeems himself as the pace picks up and the story truly reveals itself.  Tucker is in quite a strait at the end of book one and with evil futuristic priests and crazy parents on the loose, the wait for book two will be difficult.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top 10 Tueday: Favorite Book Settings

Top 10 Tuesday
Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings in Books
(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

1) Middle-Earth - Just talked to my brother about the genius of Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien.  I mean, the dude was literally a genius.  Not only did he create this beautiful story about courage, perseverance, and loyalty, but he created a world.  A whole entire world.  Complete with languages and histories and hobbits.  Thank goodness my brother made me read the trilogy before watching the movies.  Don't get me wrong, Peter Jackson is also a genius, but getting to read the books without someone putting images into my head first was truly a blessing.

2) Narnia - Whether you're walking past the lamppost through the snow with Lucy to Mr. Tumnus' house, chatting with the beavers in their cozy wooden home, or walking through the halls of the White Witch's ice palace, Narnia stays with you.

3) Hogwarts - I think I will forever be waiting for my Hogwarts letter.  Rowling so seamlessly mixed the world of human and magic together that you really do believe that somewhere in the rolling hills of the British Isles, a castle stands on the edge of a cliff filled with beautiful dining halls with floating candles and libraries with way-too-high shelving and fluttering books.

4) OASIS - I'm not a gamer, but Ernest Cline did an amazing job bringing me into the world of virtual reality.  The game was way more real then the true setting for the characters, and it was a world of endless possibilities.  Everything is a reality, whatever reality you choose.  You can change your appearance, fly a space ship, and explore worlds centered around the awesomeness that is The Goonies.
 
5) Panem - Definitely not somewhere I would ever want to visit, but definitely not somewhere I will ever forget.  I wouldn't really ever want to go to any post-apocalyptic world, but I think Panem in-particular.  Collins did an excellent job separating the disparity of the districts and the Capitol, really setting the scene for hopelessness and fear.  My imagination went in a different direction then the movie, but both developed a world of tyranny.

6) Le Cirque des RĂªves - The Circus of Dreams.  Erin Morgenstern's circus was another character in the book.  The passages preceding chapters, walking the reader through the tents, bringing them personally into the experience was breathtaking.  And that's exactly what it became, your own personal experience with the circus.  You could hear the sounds, see the spectacles, smell the candy.  It really was a circus of dreams.

7) Mortal Engines - Sometimes being vivid can mean just being different.  Philip Reeve did a wonderful job building a world in which traveling cities could actually exist.  The creaking and moaning of the cities traveling across the countryside was unique and incredible.  Can't wait to continue the series.

8) Camp Halfblood - I loved the Percy Jackson series.  Like Rowling, Riordan created a setting completely like our own and completely different all at the same time.  Using familiar elements and mixing them with the "unbelievable" made the story so much more real then creating a whole new setting.  Camp Halfblood was in a familiar location, just outside the city limits of New York City, but within it's magical boundaries were hundreds of demigods living in homes representative of their parents legacy.  It felt like a supped up summer camp with some dangerous beasts lurking in the woods.

9) Wonderland - Not surprising that Wonderland would make my list.  The crazy, off-kilter world of dreams and imagination, like Erin Morgenstern's circus, is a character all by its self.  While it might be a representation of Alice growing up and entering adulthood, it contains the frustrations and fears of childhood that stay with us no matter what age we are.

10) The Lands Beyond - From the Doldrums, to Dictionopolis and Digitopolis, The Phantom Tollbooth is filled with memorable settings.  And I'm just a sucker for stories where characters change and grow from beginning to end. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Treasure Map of Boys

By E. Lockhart
3.5 / 5 Gnomes

Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more:

Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill.

Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.

~Amazon Description~

Book three completed in the life of Ruby Oliver.  Sometimes Ruby Oliver seems like a train wreck.  I'm constantly yelling at the book trying to get her to stop the inevitable craziness she's about to get herself into in the halls of Tate Prep.  She thinks and rethinks everything so much that it's a wonder she doesn't have panic attacks all the time.  She's just a teenager though.  And a pretty awesome one at that if she'd just get out of her own head.  She has her own style, her own opinions, and a fantastic sense of humor.

While you see herself repeating patterns over and over again, you also see her grow.  For a teen facing anything similar to Ruby's dilemmas in school, that would have to be refreshing.  Pettiness happens.  It's high school.  People are mean and catty.  It's high school.  You will mess up and embarrass yourself occasionally.  It's high school.  But all that stress in high school is fleeting.  Tomorrow, someone else will do something to grab the attention of the populace.  Ruby might have flaws, but at least she's living and growing.  Half of high school is acceptance and forgiveness of yourself when you do really stupid things.

So while it can be almost painful watching Ruby Oliver, you really love her and are fighting for her to survive.  One more book in the quartet, and one more book off my must read this summer list!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Throwback TGIF: Favorite School Reads

TGIF: Favorite School Reads
(Hosted by GReads)
Friday Feature: 
Which book from your school days do you remember reading and enjoying?  Is there a book published now that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?

I haven't been doing this blogging thing long enough to go back and revisit a previous TGIF post like the feature says to do, so I thought I'd choose one I didn't participate in and give it a whirl.  With school starting just around the corner (and the chaos that is teen services will return after a much needed hiatus), this particular question sparked my interest.
 
To be honest, I don't look back fondly on most of what I read in school.  I think I would have really liked most of what we read if it hadn't been picked apart completely with discussions on symbolism and metaphors (see Literary Dealbreakers: Part 1).  Despite that, there are several stories that stayed with me or that affected me in some way shape or form as a teenager.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
This wasn't exactly an assigned reading, but I chose it for one of those programs where you pick a book and take a quiz for points.  The picture on the book really says it all.  I liked the story of the English veterinarian, but that arm...that arm that reaches inside a cow to deliver a calf...that maybe might have scarred me a bit.  At least I definitely realized any type of medical profession was not for me.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
So this has made it onto one...two...maybe five or more blog posts, but it was, hands down, the assigned reading I enjoyed the most.  The story of childhood innocence and perspective is one I've revisited several times, and I'm sure will revisit again.

Native Son by Richard Wright
My junior year I got to choose between Native Son and Of Mice and Men, and of course, in a spark of genius, I chose the nearly 500 page book.  This was the first book I remember reading that made a sincere impact.  It was also one of the ugliest books I've ever read.  It left me embarrassed, sad, and confused.  It made me feel, and isn't that one sign of a good book?

As for the second question, what book from today would I like to see on a curriculum?  Every book I think of tends to be a dystopia.  They have moments of action and moments of thought provoking ideas often relevant to current events. The Hunger Games is slowly making its way onto assigned reading lists across the country, but I'd love to see Neal Shusterman's Unwind and Rash by Pete Hautman make a list or two.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I love being a librarian

It's a pretty special feeling when you actually love what you do.  Public service isn't always easy, and to be honest, you don't always go home loving your job, but the idea that you've made a difference, even a small difference, in the life of your community makes you feel pretty good.

That's great and all, but it's not why I really love my job.  I'm sure the blogging community will understand that not everyone likes to sit around and talk about books.  Shocking, right!  There are actually very few people that really enjoy literary dialogue and are nerdy enough to admit it.  See, that's what is so special about being a librarian.  We fully admit that we are big, giant, book loving nerds.  And even when we don't like the same kinds of books, the shared enthusiasm makes us a pretty tight group.

At my library, we're huge John Green fans.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that John Green lives somewhere in our city and there is always the long-shot that we'll "accidentally" run into him at the grocery store, but it also has everything to do with how his books are extremely intelligent and heartfelt.  So we decided to go on a The Fault in Our Stars fieldtrip.  That's why I love being a librarian, because I am surrounded by people who embrace literature, love a good story, and fall so head over heels for a book that they're will to travel in a hot van on a 100 degree day to see spots that maybe inspired a few scenes in a book.

"What can I say? Librarians rule!"
--Regis Philbin

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

100 Acres, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Funky Bones

Crown Hill Cemetery

Holliday Park

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday
Top Ten Books for People Who Like Entwined


I love fairy tales.  It doesn't really have anything to do with the prince and princesses...well maybe that's not entirely true.  I'm a bit of a hopeless romantic and the idea of a white knight saving a damsel in distress is fun to revisit from time to time.  But what I really love about fairy tales is the whole premise of good vs. evil.  Right vs. wrong.  Overcoming obstacles and persevering.  Learning a lesson and growing along the way.  There's always a struggle, and more often then not, a happy ending.  And there's some kind of hope in that.

As much as I love the classic tales, I really enjoy the new, reimagined stories that have flooded the teen lit market. "Rebooted" fairy tales.  So if you liked Entwined by Heather Dixon, a "reboot" of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, here are a few more takes on classic fairy tales that you might enjoy.

1) Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinderella meets A.I.

2) Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
When one retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses just isn't enough.

3) Beastly by Alex Flinn
So much better then the movie.

4) East by Edith Pattou
My first retelling : East of the Sun and West of the Moon

5) Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde
Hey there Little Red Riding Hood

6)A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Hansel and Gretel, and beyond.

7) A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce 
And his name was Rumplestiltskin

8) The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
Forget the prince, meet the frog princess

9) Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
If Cinderella were an assassin.

10) Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Pity the wolf, fear the sisters

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Life Next Door

By Huntley Fitzpatrick
4 / 5 Gnomes

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

~Amazon Description~

So this book contains all of my favorite summer reading criteria.  It’s a swooney, coming-of-age(ish) story with fun, memorable characters and moments.  It’s book candy for those of us who just can’t get enough of lighthearted yet emotional teen romances and the boy next door, literally in this case.

Samantha has been watching the Garrett family next door for years.  Her uber-clean, non-nonsense mother always discouraged neighborly friendliness, but there was just something Samantha admired about the super big, messy family.  Then one night, Jase Garrett climbs her trellis and into her life.

Let’s talk about Jase.  Let me start out by saying that Jase might be right up there with Sarah Dessen’s Wes from The Truth About Forever.  He’s a genuinely kind, compassionate, level-headed boy who respects girls and appreciates honesty.  Plus is cute, which just kind of makes him the total package.  And that leads to my one problem with the book.  Jase is just too good to be true.  Nothing rattles him, he’s super quick to forgive, and the boy has, like, zero flaws.  No one is that wonderful.  I wish they were, but I find it highly unlikely and a bit fantastical.  I still adored him and was more than willing to overlook his near perfect being.

Samantha wasn’t so bad herself.  She wasn’t whiney or needy.  She might have been privileged, but she didn’t care about money and held two summertime jobs.  And like Jase, she was genuinely kind and compassionate, and apparently had nerves of steel because, dude, her mother is awful.  I MEAN AWFUL!  Mrs. Reed is a local politician with dreams of bigger and better arenas that has fallen for the consultant from uugghh, and, to top it all off, is a compulsive vacuumer and neat freak.  Fitzpatrick did a great job of mirroring the coldness of her mother with the coldness of a home that was more like a museum.

Finally, my favorite character, George.  George is one of Jase’s 7(1/2) brothers and sisters, and George likes to watch educational television.  The problem with educational television and George is that George misinterprets much of what he hears and is terrified that everything is going to kill him.  He needs constant reassurance that eskimo ice cream is not actually made of eskimos and that sharks do not live in the family pool.  He’s adorable and sincere, and hilarious pantsless for ¾ of the book.

My Life Next Door might sound like fluff, but it has substance which is always refreshing.  This debut books shows great promise, and I eagerly away Fitzpatrick’s next novel.  If you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, or E. Lockhart, definitely check out My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Freebie - Books to Movies

Top 10 Tuesday
Top Ten Books to Movies

I love books.  I also love movies.  With this deductive reasoning, one would assume I would love books to movies, but alas, it's not always the case.  Nothing surprising.  I'm never crushed  when director's choose to leave out material or change facts here and there to make the story work on the silver screen.  I understand that compromises must be made to effectively create a story on film.  The problem I often face is that nothing can compare to my extremely vivid imagination.  I can create whole worlds in my head with just a few short words.  I can use an author's descriptions to bring characters to life, and with the author's mastery, I watch them battle evil, strive for good, fall in love, and find honor or peace.

Every once in awhile, a director with a vision gets it right.  Or maybe the actors gets it right.  Or the script writer.  Or all three at the same time.  Every once in awhile I am able to forget the worlds I've created in my head, and I'm able to lose myself in the play before me.  So on this Top Ten Tuesday, I'm sharing my favorite books to movies (in no particular order):
 
1)  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (By C.S. Lewis)
I grew up watching the cartoon version of this classic tale.  Not overly impressive, but I loved and the animation maintained the integrity of the story.  But the recent Walden Media version breathed life into Narnia.  I loved Liam Neeson voicing Aslan, and Georgie Hensley and the wardrobe was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined on my own.

2)  To Kill A Mockingbird (By Harper Lee)
I can't remember what year I had to read the book for school, but I've reread it many times throughout the years.  There's something so innocent and humbling about the book, and the movie brings out those elements as well.  Plus, Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch might just be the best casting job ever.  There's a reason books become classics, and the same holds true for this great movie.

3)   Stardust (By Neil Gaiman)
 I'm almost a little ashamed to admit this, but Stardust was my introduction to Gaiman.  I this one worked backwards.  I loved the movie which reminded so much of another one of my picks that I just had to read the book.  Both the books and the movie had equal parts adventure and wit, humor and thrills that both fill my bookshelves.

4)  Charlotte's Web (By E.B. White)
There are a few books from your childhood that you will always remember and love.  What child doesn't love talking animals?  Strangely, despite my aversion to them now, I was one such kid.  And what better movie book duo to teach you about friendship and courage then the E.B. White classic, even with Templeton's fair food song.
 
5)  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (By J.K. Rowling)
I love Harry Potter.  I love the books...and I love the movies.  And I love them equally because I learned to love them separately.  My favorite, by far, of all of the HP movies was Azkaban, and definitely one of my favorite books.  I missed the detail of the book, but I loved the terrifying dementors of the movie.  But with my unique HP ability, I got to bring what I'd read to the theater with me...and all was well.
6) The Princess Bride (By William Goldman)
Best movie ever, and a pretty decent book.  It doesn't get much better than sarcastic and witty dueling, stolen princess, gentle giants, scheming "masterminds" and true love.  No really...it doesn't get much better.

7)  Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (By J.R.R. Tolkien)
There was a rule in my house.  You weren't allowed to see the LOTR movies until you had read the books.  Forty-five minutes before the start of the movie, I was finishing up the Two Towers, completely mesmerized.  Tolkien is a genius.  he created whole world, whole languages, whole histories and blended them into a nearly perfect fantasy trilogy with all of the elements of great storytelling.  Peter Jackson is also a genius.  He brought to life one of the most complicated and complete plots of all time and made it is own without messing with the integrity of the original.  Good vs. evil.  Right vs. wrong.  Courage vs. cowardice.  Friendship vs. betrayal.  And home.  Always the hope of home.  Well done boys.  Well done.

8)  The Adventures of Huck Finn (By Mark Twain)
Thank you high school reading assignments for introducing me to books that I would never have chosen for myself.  Thank you Mr. Twain for your brilliant talent.  And thank you Elijah Wood for being so darn cute that despite not following the book, I didn't really care.  Just an enjoyable movie and a fresh take on a classic tale about growing up.
9)  Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
Guilty pleasure alert.  While I have serious problems with Will Shakespeare's tale of starcrossed lovers, I'm a sucker for love stories, even when they don't end the way I want them to.  I'm also a huge fan of Baz Luhrman.  And I become an even bigger fan of both when you mix them together.

10) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (By Bryan Lee O'Malley)
A perfect example of how choosing the right cast can make the movie and pay homage to the characters within the pages.  The book was fast paced and wild.  The movie was wild and crazy.  Together they make a great pair.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Throne of Glass

By Sarah J. Maas
Released August 7, 2012
Netgalley.com
4 / 5 Gnomes

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison. 

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.
And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival–and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world.
~sarahjmaas.com~
 The perk of being a fan of several great blogs is every once in awhile they'll lead you to some amazing books.  Anna from Annareads.com gave a glowing review of Throne of Glass so I decided to movie it up in my queue.  So glad I did!

I've mentioned it before, but I really, really, really like strong female warrior characters.  There's definitely something empowering about a girl who can kick a little butt without having to rely on guy...not that relying on an equally strong male character is a bad thing.  Let me rephrase...I really, really, really like books with strong female warrior characters and warrior men who respect them enough to let them do their own fighting.  There, that's better.

I had a feeling I'd like this book from the get go.  It doesn't get much cooler than a female assassin who's not super shady and angsty.  Celaena has had a rough time with things, but through all of the hardships and struggles she has maintained a humanness that makes her extremely likeable.

In a castle made of glass, Celaena must fight for her life and her freedom and confront a past that has haunted her  and left her with scars she will carry forever.  Luckily she's not alone...LOVE TRIANGLE!  It's okay though, but it's not an annoying love triangle.  There's no "I love you...no, I love you...but he's so vulnerable...but he's so moody and deep..."  It's a love triangle of mutual respect and loyalty.

My one criticism...Celaena is thrust into a fierce competition where she will battle a number of criminals, murderers, and thieves to earn the title of Kings Champion.  A series of tests will determine the winner, but we get very few details about the tests considering.  I really wanted to see what Celaena was capable of, why she was legendary and feared.  Some of the tests were gleaned over and only two were really flushed out into full scenes.

But it's a minor problem in a fantastic book.  Definite visit Throne of Glass when it is released in August!  
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