Rewind & Review (74)

Rewind & Review

 

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

I have multiple weeks to catch up on, and there’s some pretty fantastic stuff in there.

Stuff I Received

  • The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth (from Quirk)
  • Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley)

Thanks, Quirk Books! And THANK YOU TIMES A MILLION, DISNEY!

Stuff I Bought

  • Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
  • Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  • Something Real by Heather Demetrios
  • Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
  • Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

I really shouldn’t have. But I did. :D

What I Read

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce audiobook – Finally finished. Ended up being pretty good. Still not one of my favorites, though.

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce audiobook – Oh my gosh, the beginning draaaaaagged. Now that we’re past the midpoint, though, it’s getting better.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt – Short, sweet.

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake – Well, that was a trip and a half. Review to come.

Dream a Little Dream by Kiersten Gier – DNF’d. Not my scene. Review to come.

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett – Happy reread!

The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett –  Just started. Hope I like it as much as the last one.

Event of the Week

There were actually THREE pretty important events during these past two weeks.

Event One: Scrooge!

I was absent most of last week because of The Gospel According to Scrooge, a Christmas play my church puts on every year. I’m the assistant to the executive director, and this year was our biggest year yet as we celebrated our twenty-fifth year performing. The church as a whole did, anyways. I’ve been in Scrooge a long time, but not quite that long. It was a great year and we broke our attendance record from last year! Woot!

A photo posted by Shaelit (@shaelit) on

Event Two: I’m got an internship!

In case you missed my Twitter announcement, I landed an internship in New York! I’ll be moving in February to intern at Greenburger Associates on the scouting side, which is exciting and scary and AAAAH! I’m beyond ready to start living my life outside Florida, and I already really like the agent I’ll be working with. My biggest fear right now is housing, so y’all keep your ears open for anyone needing a roommate, y’hear?

Event Three: The Hobbit!

It’s hard to overstate how big of a space Tolkien’s works fill in my life. In 2001, either before or right after my eleventh birthday, my dad bought and read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I figured anything my dad liked must be cool, so I read them both as well (even though it took tiny me like a month to finish them both.) As a reward, my dad took me to see my very first PG-13 movie, The Fellowship of the Ring. Since 2001, we have seen every single LOTR and Hobbit movie together in theaters, and that tradition held Tuesday night. It was fantastic, and now I’m sad because an era has ended. :( Here are my (non-spoilery) thoughts from after the movie:

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2014 End of the Year Survey – Favorite Secondary Characters

Image and meme property of The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Good morrow! If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been working my way through The End of the Year Survey as created by Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner. I follow her pattern pretty closely, but now I want to take a brief interlude in the proceedings to talk about secondary characters.

Here are my Reading Stats and Best In Books, Parts One and Two, if you need to catch up.

Protagonists, antagonists, and love interests garner the most talk in the survey, and rightly so. However, being a character-focused reader, I often find myself falling most deeply in love with the supporting characters that aid or hinder our main characters and prop up the bulk of the plot, and so I thought they deserved their own list.

Rules for making the list:

  1. They must be actual secondary or tertiary characters. So no love interests (I still love you, Sturmhond and Niklaas and Gansey and…!), antagonists (sorry, Mr. Darkling, sir, don’t kill me), or any main characters that shares a POV (so as much as I love Titus and Iolanthe, since both helm the narrative, neither qualifies.)
  2. They must be well-rounded. How well-rounded will depend on how much page time they receive, but I don’t want any one-trick ponies on my list.
  3. I have to know who they are. What I mean by that is that I don’t need more than a name to remember why I love them so much.
  4. They have to be cool enough that I would follow them to a spinoff novel all their own. Continue Reading →
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2014 End of the Year Survey – Reading Stats

Image and meme by The Perpetual Page-Turner

Oh boy, I think the End of the Year Survey is both my favorite and least favorite time of the year. I love looking back and organizing my data, but it’s SO HARD to choose favorites! I’m a wordy person when it comes to gushing, so I’ve split the survey up over the week so I don’t bore you with my answers. Luckily, the first part of the survey is all about stats, so it’s far less subjective than the rest.

I keep my own book log and have my own questions I want answered, so I won’t be following Jamie’s lead on this one. There’s an unspecified margin for error in these graphs because there’s always a chance that I’ve forgotten to add a book, and also some things like genres and ratings can be tricky to nail down.

Note: Unless otherwise specified, manuscripts are not included in these stats. Novellas, audiobooks, and DNFs are included. Continue Reading →

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Review: WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY by Gail Carriger

Class is back in session…

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style–with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what–or who–they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine’s proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.

Warning: This review will likely contain spoilers for previous books. You have been warned. Continue Reading →

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Top 10 Tuesday – New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

By my count, I actually read 19 new-to-me authors this year that completely blew my socks off. Narrowing that list down to ten was EXTREMELY difficult and only possible by placing the other nine in an Honorable Mentions list. Here they are in alphabetical order (by last name.)

Cressida Cowell

Book(s) Read: How To Train Your Dragon, How To Be a Pirate, How To Speak Dragonese, How To Cheat a Dragon’s Curse, How To Twist a Dragon’s Tale, A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons.

I fell fast and hard for Ms. Cowell’s HTTYD series. David Tennant’s pitch-perfect narration (with a lovely Scottish brogue) definitely helped, but I would’ve been charmed by the series even without his help. I adore these characters, both familiar yet radically different faces from the movie (Hiccup, Fishlegs, Stoick, Toothless, etc.) and the new buddies that have kept me in stitches (Ziggurastica, Alvin, Kamikaze, Big-Boobied Bertha, Old Wrinkly, etc.)

Liz Czukas

Book(s) Read: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless.

Just based on these first two entries, the key to my heart is to make me laugh, because TTCYC made me do that in abundance. The humor was spot on, the experience of those working in retail was true to life (take it from one who knows), and the characters were casually diverse in the best way. And I’ve been told that Ms. Czukas’s debut book (which I own but haven’t read yet) is even BETTER! Hooray!

Katherine Ewell

Book(s) Read: Dear Killer.

I am blissfully content being the black sheep in regards to Dear Killer. I know some of my friends had issues, but I couldn’t get enough. As someone who is very, very picky about the details of crime scenes, criminal procedure, serial killers, and the psychology of crime, it was an absolute joy to read a book that stuck close to what I knew to be true. Anyone who’s that particular about details automatically has my interest in their next book. (Also, she has commendable taste in TV shows.)

Stacey Jay

Book(s) Read: Of Beast and BeautyPrincess of Thorns.

Ms. Stacey is the latest addition to this list, since only just binged both of her fairy tale retellings last month and put up my reviews this past week. OBaB is a wonderful sci-fi that realistically handles two people of different classes falling in love while still upholding their responsibilities to their respective people. PoT is probably one of the best action/adventure romances that is also a fantastic buddy book/bromance that I’ve read all year. Or ever. I have a lot of feelings about that book.

Danielle Jensen

Book(s) Read: Stolen Songbird.

I liked SS so much that I wrote it a love note in the form of a review. Again, the shipping action within the novel was what hooked me, but the world-building and mythology carried me along. And OOF, that ending! HIT ME AGAIN, MS. JENSEN, I’M READY!

Elizabeth May

Book(s) Read: The Falconer.

KIAAAARAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! Gosh, I haven’t had a bad-boy book boyfriend like Kiaran in some time. *pets* But there’s so much more to love that our hot Faerie rebel (though he would be enough, let’s be honest.) In the course of one book, Ms. May somehow managed to make me love multiple elements that I would otherwise avoid. You better believe I trust her in whatever’s coming next.

Jennifer McGowan

Book(s) Read: Maid of Secrets, Maid of Deception.

This year has made me a newly minted, true blue McGowan fangirl. Her books are everything I love. Political intrigue, hot boys, spies, assassins, thieves, poisons, conflicting motivations, historical versimillitude—it’s all there! Also, while I thought MoS was fantastic, MoD WAS EVEN BETTER (which I didn’t think was possible.) I am now dyyyyyyyying for the next book in the series.

Kirsten Miller

Book(s) Read: How To Lead a Life of Crime.

Did I really only “meet” Ms. Miller this year? Wow. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve highlighted HTLaLoC in posts since then, and each mention is rightly deserved. My whole review is one long gushfest for Ms. Miller’s genius, so I suggest you go read it right now. Even thinking about the book makes me itch to read it all over again.

Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Book(s) Read: Dairy Queen, The Off Season, Front and Center.

I never wrote reviews about the Dairy Queen series, but the three audiobooks were my constant and welcome companion for many a long commute. The DQ books are some of the rare contemporaries that I not only tolerate but actively seek out thanks to their nuanced and believable characters, subtle humor, and very real conflicts. I haven’t read any of Ms. Murdock’s other books, but that statement won’t be true for too much longer if I have my way.

Marie Rutkoski

Book(s) Read: The Winner’s Curse.

Do you know what’s lovely? An author that can give a well-crafted story with intricate world-building and a swoony romance AND throw in some thoughtful commentary on race and social justice. Heck yeah.

Honorable Mentions: Melissa Landers (Alienated), Elle Cosimano (Nearly Gone), Rebecca Hahn (A Creature of Moonlight), John David Anderson (Sidekicked and Minion), Virginia Bergin (H2O), Karen Akins (Loop), R.C. Lewis (Stitching Snow), Ellie Marney (Every Breath), Teresa Harris (The Perfect Place).

 

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Review: PRINCESS OF THORNS by Stacey Jay

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

Read the book. That’s all. Read the book. It’s wonderful and swoony and hilarious and made my toes curl. Read the book. What? You want to know more than that? What about my status update on Goodreads?

More than THAT? Fiiiiiiiine. But get your ponchos because the fangirl tsunami is a-comin’. Continue Reading →

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Review: OF BEAST AND BEAUTY by Stacey Jay

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

I love fairy tale retellings. I will probably always love fairy tale retellings. They come in so many flavors and angles, but I think the angle Ms. Jay took on Beauty and the Beast here is one of my favorite ways to go. Continue Reading →

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