WWW Wednesday- July 19

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s very simple – answer the three questions and leave a link in Sam’s post.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading:

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Roseblood by A.G. Howard

I am participating in a read-a-long with the Calendar Girls, and since July’s theme is Retellings, we are reading this Phantom of the Opera retelling. I’m a little over halfway through, and it’s interesting. I’m not familiar with the original, so I was walking in blind to the story. I will be putting up a review at the end of the month.

 

 

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Odd and True by Cat Winters

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. I will be writing a review when I finish this, but so far I’m loving it. It has sisters fighting evil in the early 1900’s. It has pieces of the old west at the turn of the century. It’s really cool so far. I’m about halfway through this one as well, but I am loving it so much.

 

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

I’m listening to this audiobook while I drive back and forth to work, and oh man. This is great. It’s funny and smart and dirty (in a good way). Teenage boys. I’m loving the romantic parts and relationship between the three younger characters. I don’t think the sister is going to be around much longer if nothing changes as she’s supposed to say in Paris for school while they continue, but I’m liking how the three teenage characters play off each other. It almost makes me wish my commute was a little bit longer.

 

What did I recently finish reading?

31423196 Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

I posted a review of this on Monday. It was a really excellent book. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series

 

 

 

 

194373I’ve been having the wonderful Stephen Fry read  Sherlock Holmes to me while I was driving and I just wrapped up The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. When I finish the whole canon, I’m going to write up a “review” of the collection. I just needed a break from the books. (It’s 60 hours of Sherlock Holmes I didn’t want to get annoyed with it.)

 

 

 

What am I reading next?

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Alex and Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz.

Durning this month’s Calendar girls twitter chat we were discussing next month’s topic which is Historical fiction and this book came up. It’s a fictionalized telling of Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza’s love story. I’m kind of excited about this book, and I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

 

 

 

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After I wrap up The Gentleman’s Guide, I’m jumping back into Sherlock with The Hound of the Baskervilles. I really want to listen to the whole Sherlock canon this summer. This is my favorite Sherlock story because it’s the first one I ever read when I was like, eight.

 

 

 

 

 

And that my week in books, what does yours look like?

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

Top 5 Wednesday: Books with No Romance.

Top 5 Wednesday is currently being hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. If you want to learn more about the group or are considering joining in, check out the Goodreads group. Each week has a different topic, and you just post five books that fit that topic.

This week’s topic is top 5 books with little to no romance.

I’m sure it’s clear by some of my reviews that I find unnecessary romance annoying– especially in YA. It can feel like everything ends up getting better because of a boy (usually a boy I read a lot of female narrators in heterosexual relationships). Romance has a place in books, but not all books. So today we celebrate those books that there is no romantic subplot or one that is such a small subplot that it doesn’t matter.

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1 A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving- This is my favorite book of all time. This is a book about love, religion, death and all sorts of other things. The love is a friendship/ family love. It’s hard for me to really pinpoint what is is about this book that I love so much, but this book is amazing. There is very little romantic love in this book at all.

 

 

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2 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart- This book is something special. There is a very small romantic subplot, but it has pretty much no impact on the storyline. It’s hard to categorize this book without *spoilers* but it’s about family and if you haven’t read this book, read it right now.

 

 

 

232720283 A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This book is set up so there could be the possibility of romance, but I don’t think there will be a romance between Charlotte and Jamie. And although this particular book does center around a previous romance, the actual romance doesn’t happen during the book.

I’m going to throw in all Sherlock Holmes books into this section. The original stories are about solving crimes, Holmes and Watson have little romantic subplots, save in The Sign of  Four when Watson meets Mary, but even in that, it barely a thing.

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4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- This is another book where love in an important part of the story, but love of humanity and family– not romantic. The Book Thief is a book like nothing else I have ever read. There will never be another like it. It’s one of those once in a generation book. It’s just great. It’s so different, with a different kind of narrator. It’s a story of death and war, and it’s dirty (I mean in a way the topic of WWII is dirty). You can tell opening it, it won’t be a happy book, but it’s just so good.

 

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5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – Although the first line of this book is “It was love at first sight.” This is a book about war and just how horrible it is. I read this book in high school on the recommendation of a good friend of mine that I worked with. I talked endlessly about Owen Meany, and she would talk about Catch-22. Honestly, I need to reread it because it’s been a while, but I remember it being that weird humor that goes over most a high school student’s head, but I remember it having such an impact on me overall. It’s an excellent book.

 

Romance has a place in books, but from the list above and the many other T5W posts that will be showing up today, it’s clear that romance is not needed to have a fantastic and memorable book. Love does not have to be romantic. Friend-love, family love, love of work, love of country, are just as valid a subplot of a story as romance.

What are your favorite non-romantic stories?

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

WWW Wednesday- June 28

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s very simple – answer the three questions and leave a link in Sam’s post.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

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I started reading Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray over the weekend. I’m only 50 pages in, but so far I’m enjoying it. I think that Able has an interesting story. I have heard that there is some romance in this book, and I’m worried that there is going to be human/robot love. I’m not the biggest fan of this idea, but I’ve also read that it’s not a big part of the story. I like the idea of people from opposite sides like– Able and Noemi are– teaming up, so it has that going to for. This was an Uppercase book, and I haven’t been let down too much by one of their books so far, so I think I will enjoy it.

 

 

I am listening to Stephen Fry reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve listened to the first two novels, A Study in Scarlett and  The Sign of Four. I am currently (meaning literally right now) listening to the first story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s all in one audiobook, which I got for a credit on Audible. So if you have an audible account and are looking for something to use a credit on, I would suggest this. It’s 60 hours of Stephen Fry reading. With forwards by Stephen Fry about the different stories. If you like Detective Stories you can’t do better than this. I will write a long Thursday Post about it and my admiration for Holmes when I finish the book.

29401441I also was lucky enough to get a copy of Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis from NetGallery (I feel like an official book blogger now)! According to my Kindle app, I’m 15% of the way through. I’m liking it. Flora is sort of a Problematic Fav at the moment. I’m interested to see how her new school changes her.

The format is neat. I’ve seen books with journal entries and stuff mixed in, but this one is a little different. There will, obviously, be a review of this when I finish it up that will explain this point a little bit deeper.

 

What did I recently finish reading?

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I finished reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I loved it! I wrote up a review and posted it on Monday. (And spelled Ms. Garber’s first name wrong in the title which I have fixed now but I just want to apologize for making such a ridiculous mistake).

I loved the world building in the story, and I greatly look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out.

 

 

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Last week I also finished reading this great  Lincoln Biography, which I wrote about last week. This was a well researched interesting take on America’s nerdiest, best pun telling, most Midwestern President. Abraham Lincoln was such a dad.

Also, honorable mention to Tad Lincoln (the youngest son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln) and is pet goat Nanny as the best First Child and Best First Pet in American History.

 

 

What will I read next?

28818314Starting next week, I will be reading Roseblood by AG Howard as part of a read-a-long with the rest of the Calendar Girls. Read more about that here! I’m very interested in this book. I’m completely unfamiliar with The Phantom of the Opera, so I have no idea what to expect.

I have a couple other books that I’m eyeing as my next book, but I can only read one physical book at a time. So Roseblood first and then Onward!

For my next Audiobook, I was leaning toward the Anne Rule book The Stranger Beside Me which is about the serial killer Ted Bundy and her unique relationship with him or a book on Jack the Ripper, but I think after the Sherlock Holmes books I might have to back away from the murder. Which is never something I thought I would ever say.

So What are you guys reading?

Until Next time Internet

Deanna

Top 5 Wednesday- Favorite Side Characters.

Top 5 Wednesday is currently being hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. If you want to learn more about the group or are considering joining in, check out the Goodreads group. Each week has a different topic, and you just post five books that fit that topic.

This week’s topic is our favorite non-main characters. Those characters that although the story isn’t about them, we love them anyway.

I, personally, have always had a fondness for side characters. With the exceptions of Dean Winchester and Batman, I’m pretty sure all of my favorite characters are not the ones the main narrative is about. So, let us begin.

1. Spencer Martin from Maureen Johnson’s Suite Scarlet series

So I have this cat.

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And his name is Dr. Spencer Reid. However, he is named after several Spencers. One of them, being Spencer from Suite Scarlet. When I got Spence, there were a weird amount of fictional Spencers in my life. 2010 was a Spencer heavy year in media.

Spencer Martin is the silly, actor, older brother of the title character. He’s a voice of reason, while also being the character dispenses this advice atop a unicycle. He’s holding secret rehearsals for a full stage performance of Hamlet in the basement of this parents’ hotel. Spencer Martin reminds me of a very good friend of mine from college. He’s just this weird, goofy guy that’s also so smart and thoughtful and takes care of siblings/friends. Exactly the kind of person you should name your cat after.

2. The Weasley Twins (Mostly Fred) from the Harry Potter series.

The Weasley Twins (mostly Fred) are my favorite characters in Harry Potter. They are funny and ridiculous. They cause the best kind of chaos by being themselves and reminding us that even as the world is falling apart around us, it’s important to remember to laugh. From the moment we meet these boys at Kings Cross to the moment Fred dies, these boys are smiling and laughing no matter what happened to them. They are a symbol of youthfulness and enjoyment. And I love them (mostly Fred).

3. Ginny Weasely from the Harry Potter series

So this post could quickly become “5 characters from Harry Potter who aren’t Harry because Harry is one of the worst characters in Harry Potter” but I promise Ginny will be my last Harry Potter character.img_4865

Ginny is so important to the story. She is so different from Hermione, and essentially all the other female characters. She’s not afraid to be who she is. I feel like we forget, partly because of the movies, that Ginny was possessed by Voldemort when she was 11 years old. She’s a person that Harry can talk to about what’s happening with him and Voldemort and not just feel bad for him. She gets it, she understands. She’s one of those women who stand out looking at the books. She’s an athlete and fearless. She dates who she wants to date and doesn’t care what people say about her because she knows who she is. She’s Ginny Weasley, and is that bothers you, too bad. She’s living her life whether you like it or not.

4. Iko from The Lunar Chronicles 

I  have only read the first 2 books of the Lunar Chronicles, but Iko stands out as a character that I know I will love the more books I read. She’s exactly the voice that I would have in several of the situations that Cinder finds herself in. The wide-eyed best friend that pushes their friend head first toward what looks to be the best for them. “He likes you, and he’s the Prince. DO IT.” I identify hardcore with Iko’s fangirling and sarcasm. I hope the best for her in future books.

5. Takumi Hikohito from Looking for Alaska 

Why? Because no one can catch the motherfucking fox.

But serious, John Green has a talent for creating characters that are relatable in different ways. We don’t know much about Takumi’s life, but I think that many of us have a friend like him. He’s the one that can call you out on you crap, like ignoring your girlfriend for several months or making you realize that maybe, just maybe, the earth doesn’t revolve around you. We all need a friend like Takumi sometimes. He’s a great character.

I should also point out that in a book full of beautiful prose, I remember 3 lines, that one about people being rain, one about Thomas Edison’s last words, and “No one can catch the motherfucking fox.”

What are your favorite sidekicks? I’d love to hear about them.

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

Review: The Infinite Moment of Us

The Details

Publisher:  Amulet Books
Published:  August 27, 2013
Genres:  YA, romance, contemporary
My Rating: 3 Stars

17290266Goodreads Blurb

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now… not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them…

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this book. However, there were some unfinished storylines and some problematic issues that I had that keeps this book from being four stars from me. It had so much potential, but I feel like it fell flat in many spots where it could have really shined.

It reminds me of Judy Blume’s Forever, only not quite as good. I mean, Forever is probably the best sex and relationship YA book ever to exist. The Infinite Moment of Us tries, and to be honest, it does hit notes of a teenage relationship in mid-2010’s, but not enough of them.

There is a fair amount of slut shaming. There’s a character named Starla, she’s promiscuous and has a rough past. I felt reading the book that both narrators, Charlie and Wren, looked upon Starla as something to be pitied. Wren and her best friend both discussed how Wren was much better than Starla because Starla was known to get around whereas Wren was clean and pure and wholesome and from a good family. I know this is a thing that happens in high school. It’s how girls talk to and about each other, but because of other elements of this book the Starla is dirty and Wren is bright and clean aspect of it is very unhealthy and gives the wrong impression to a reader about what is and isn’t acceptable.

There are some anti-feminist things, which doesn’t bother me, except compounded with the virgin/whore dynamic between Wren and Starla. Wren’s best friend, Tessa, talks to Charlie about how “girls like to have sex.” I saw it as more how Wren would want a sexual relationship, but it can be read both ways. Some of the reviews if this book that I read on GoodReads talked about how weird this was, for the boyfriend to go to the best friend. However, in my experience, girls talk to each other about this kind of stuff in a way that they don’t with significant others. Charlie is just trying to learn about Wren, so he goes the source, the best friend. Is it super weird, yes, but still teenage girls talk to their girlfriends about a lot of things. I would imagine if someone wanted to know more about me, they would go to Jen or my other close friends. I would assume it would be to find out what kind of food I like and what items of Harry Potter and Supernatural merchandise I already own so they can buy me a present and not about positions, but who knows?

Tessa talks about a male dominated, male aggressive kind of relationship where the girl is submissive and does what the guy wants. Your sex life if up to you, but to think that there is only one way to have this kind of relationship isn’t okay. In Starla’s relationship with Charlie, Starla is in charge. It was very clear that Starla set the rules for the relationship. This to me plays a little into the “good and bad” relationship that is woven throughout the book. Tessa’s description of the kind of relationship that Wren would want makes Charlie believe that everything he and Starla were was wrong and even dirtier. Girls shouldn’t be like Starla, they should be like Wren. Girls can be both.

There are some, it’s not graphic, but its detailed, depictions of sex acts, and the only part of that that really bothers me is that Wren wants to have unprotected sex. It’s made to seem like a good and understandable decision. These characters are 18 years old and graduate high school at the beginning of the book. Unprotected sex probably isn’t a good choice. This is a Young Adult book, and is obviously targeted to older teens, but just say yes to condoms.

There are some storylines that don’t have a resolution, Starla’s in particular. There was so much more that could have been done with Starla. I left the book wanting to know more about what happens to her, how she comes out of these events. I feel so bad for her. I wanted to protect her, which I really don’t feel was the point of her character, but nonetheless is how I felt walking away from the story. I feel like there is a potential for a second book which would wrap this up, but as of right now there isn’t. There are so many loose ends that it would make sense to have a follow-up.

I feel like there is a potential for a second book which would wrap this up, but as of right now there isn’t. There are so many loose ends that it would make sense to have a follow-up. There was a complete story but it read like (this is going be the weirdest analogy ever) during the writers strike when most TV shows had shortened seasons. Storylines were introduced in the first half of the season, then the strike happened, so those storylines weren’t picked up again and forgotten. There are just a lot of loose ends.

All in all, I did enjoy this book. I like the way Lauren Myracle writes, but there were pieces of this books that just don’t sit right with me after thinking about it for a few days. I mean if I didn’t hyper-analyze it to write a blog post about it I may have enjoyed it more, but thinking about book critically was something I was doing before I wrote about them online. It felt like there was a much bigger book planned and pieces got cut out but that whole storyline wasn’t removed, does that make sense?

I felt slightly let down by this book, I didn’t have the highest of hopes because of the mixed reviews on GoodReads, but I still think there was a greater potential than what ended up happening.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday #7

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s very simple – answer the three questions and leave a link in Sam’s post.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

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I recently started reading Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. So far it’s interesting. I’m not too far into it yet, but I am enjoying how different it is. There are elements of paranormal romance, contemporary, and a little science fiction.  There is a girl with a psychic connection to a stranger who she has always felt was a sort of imaginary friend, but now she’s met him in real life. That’s as far as I’ve been in the story. I’m interested to see where it’s going.

 

 

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To be honestly, I haven’t actually started listening to this Lincoln biography, partly because it’s 30 hours long and thinking about how long 30 hours is freaking me out a little, since I’ve been listening to books that were about 10 to 15 hours long, but in reality it’s just over two weeks of driving to work, so I need to suck it up and start it.

Semi-related, did you know Blondie has a new song? It’s quite good.

 

What did I just finish reading?

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I finished up The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle over the weekend. I’ll be posting a review of it tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about it. It was a good book, but I feel that there were things that could have been done very differently. Well, I’ll get into all that in tomorrow’s post. Overall it was a decent book.

 

 

 

 

What will I be reading next?

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I have some ambitious plans for the month of May. One of the book challenges in a reading group I’m in on Goodreads is to read as many books with one-word titles as possible. Since Unspoken and its sequels have been on my bookshelf for an embarrassingly long time, I’ve decided to start there. I feel as if The Lynburn Legacy books will be quick reads. Up next will be Untold.

Calendar Girls: Best Sequel

Welcome to the fifth month of the reading/blogging event Flavia and Melanie are hosting, Calendar Girls! It’s a monthly event designed to ignite bookish discussions between bloggers based on the monthly theme. For more information, check out Melanie or Flavia’s launch posts!

This month’s theme: best sequel.

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My choice is the second book in the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty, Second Helpings. To be honest, it’s been a little while since I read this book (about 7 years) and I desperately need to re-read this series considering how much I talk about Megan McCafferty, her writing, and how much I love her books, but I remember this one sticking with me for so many reasons.

 

 

I picked up this book because Hayley for the fiveawesomegirls youtube channel talked about it, and she was very excited about the release of the fifth one. Trusting Hayley’s taste in books I decided to dive in for a crazy ride that goes from YA lit to more adult literature and themes as Jessica, and therefore Jessica’s audience aged.

The first book in this series, Sloppy Firsts, was published in August of 2001, Second Helpings was released in April on 2003, Jessica, the main character is a senior in high school in this book. It follows Jessica through her senior year, the superlatives, yearbook prep, college selection, as well as her older sister’s pregnancy. It’s a turbulent year for Jessica as she tries, like so many of us have at 17 and 18 years old, to learn who she is and what she wants.

Between the release of the first book and the release of the second book, a huge event in American History happened. I was a freshman in high school that day. And in the nine years between that event in September of 2001 and March of 2010 when I read this book, I had never read a book that discussed the high school student reaction to it. There is a tone shift in the books that, looking back at them; you can tell that book one is a pre-9/11 book and the second in a post-9/11 book. It’s hard to explain, and I could have been imagining the whole thing, but there is a worry free honesty of the first book and the second book truly captures the change that there was in, at the very least, my high school.

Obviously, the Megan McCafferty’s take on 9/11 through the eyes of a high schooler who was not that much older than I was isn’t the only reason I love this series and this book. There is an honesty and a light-heartedness that Jessica’s character has as she writes her diary and explains the events of her life that feel so real. She doesn’t sugar coat her friendships with the people in her friend group who she calls “The Clueless Crew.” She’s conflicted about her feelings with two different boys. It just feels more real than many YA books I’ve read. There is also a lot of appreciation for Barry Manilow, which you just don’t see in YA literature.

I highly, highly, highly, recommend reading the Jessica Darling series. They are just good books.

Have you read them? Let me know what you thought!

Next Month’s Calendar Girl’s Theme:

BEST SHAKESPEARIAN PLAY

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna