Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Top Ten Books and Movies in this year so far.

My Top Ten Books and Movies in this year so far.

I have read 68 books this year so far. My goal at the beginning of the year was 200, but that doesn't seem likely now. I may have gotten distracted by various movies and twitter. So, since I have also watched a lot of movies this year, I have decided to give you two Top Ten lists: Books and Movies. Here we go!

1. In the Shadow of Blackbirds, By Cat Winters
This book is so amazing I can't even begin to tell you, but I did try. If you want to see my attempt at expressing how amazing this book is, go to my last post, if you want to experience the amazingness for yourself, go read the book. I recommend both. With a cookie, an onion cookie .

2. Splintered, By A.G. Howard
This book is a morbidly lovely twist on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The first two lines gave me a delightful whole body shiver of anticipation for the wonderful wonderland my mind was about to enter. And I don't think I ever really left it.

3. Girl of Fire and Thorns, By Rae Carson
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
This whole book is steeped in the story world's religion. All religion intrigues me, I find it all very interesting, but this author created a new one that I got to learn about, which I really enjoyed. I love religious conflict in a story, and there is heaps abound of that in this book, it's great when people start arguing about faith. The main character is VERY religious at the beginning of the story, and I loved seeing her beliefs change and her faith waver as more history and secrets behind the religion she trusted and so diligently followed were revealed.

4. Shatter Me, By Tahereh Mafi
This book was my first dystopian read and I am infinitely glad it was. Tahereh's writing is beautiful, prose like. The book is told from the perspective of a girl who is going insane, and I just love that. If  you want to know more of my thoughts on this book the post is third from the top.

5. Invisibility, By Andrea Cremer, and David Levithan
This is a great standalone, the story is like nothing I have ever read, and the characters and world are amazing. I love that it's told from two different points of view, the story opens up a lot more when you're not confined to one person's mind. The only thing I wanted more out of this book was, well, more.

6. Throne of Glass, By Sarah J. Maas

I love this book because I love badass assassin girls soaking* arrogant meat heads. Oh, and a mystery murderer ripping people up and leaving their bloody carcases for people to wonder and worry over. Yippee, splayed organs!

7. Born of Illusion, By Teri Brown

I love historical fiction. Even more so, historical fiction with supernatural happenings in it.  But more than that, I love a book set during the 1920s with a protagonist who is the illegitimate daughter of one of the most famous magicians of that time, who has real psychic abilities that she hides from everyone, including her stage hog of a mother. Oh, and she pulls scallions out of people's ears. Needless to say, she is very handy in the kitchen.

8. The Boyfriend App, By Katie Sise

This book really surprised me, I went into it thinking that it would be a fun flirty read with enough originality to keep me from falling asleep. And I came out with my mind blown. This book is smart and scary possible. The main character is a computer genius (read: hacker), and I cannot tell you how awesome it is to have the girl, when she is pissed off at the Queen Bee (read: bitch), instead of plotting something like putting glue in QB's lip gloss, scheme all the ways she could take her down by hacking her computer. Let's just say it involves the FBI, and you should be nice to those trogs. Really.

9. The Madman's Daughter, By Megan Shepherd

Creeeeeeeepy, creepy, creepy, creepy. What do you get when you take a Mad Doctor (technical term) who likes to vivisect, his daughter who thinks she's off her rocker, two very different boys vying for her affections, and a whole lota danger, suspicion, suspense, and the experiments that come with a Mad Doctor, and put them on an island full of people that may not be people? You get The Madman's Daughter! Hint: It's about the Mad Doctor and his daughter. He is really, REALLY, mad.

10. This is what happy looks like, By Jennifer E. Smith

First, GREAT title, second, the book is better than the title. If someone told you about this book you would think it's insane, the plot is totally unbelievable, never in a million years would I have thought someone would come up with this. It's crazy and is not realistic in the least, but the characters are achingly real and the way Jennifer writes makes it all seem like the most possible thing in the world. By the time I was done with this book I was thinking: How could I have thought this book was unrealistic? This could totally happen! It probably, totally, won't, but it seemed like it could, and really, isn't that every author's goal, to make their story feel real? At least, that's what I want from all stories, I want them to be real. Because if they aren't, I would have to accept the world I live in to be the only reality, and I just don't accept that. Someday, I will go to Hogwarts, you mark my words.


This list ranges from the best to the least best, though all very good. Also, these are all movies I watched for the first time this year, not movies that I love and watched again.

1. Newsies* 

Possibly the best movie ever, also, when I said "soaking" up there in #6 it was in reference to this movie, you probably guessed that it's another way of saying "beating" or "roughing" them up, but if you want to know why it is so funny and why my brother will likely spray food out his nose from laughing when he reads this, I strongly suggest you go watch it. CRUTCHY!!! *cough* Sorry, had a Newsies spasm there.

2. The Perks of  Being a Wallflower

Best. Cast. Ever. You could actually feel the feels they were feeling. I was all felt out. That sounded wrong. Ignore that last part.

3. French Kiss

Never have I ever loved a Meg Ryan movie more. AND IT MADE ME, COMPLETELY, INSANE!!!

4. The Perfect Score

So many funnies! And smart cheating, I LOVE smart cheating!

5. Pitch Perfect

Aca awesome y'all.

6. Sliding Doors

Watching, watching, OMG IT'S THE GUY FROM THE MUMMY! Watching, watching, crying, crying, running through the house screaming: IT'S SO GOOD! THIS IS SO GOOD! *shaking siblings* I LOVE THIS MOVIE! 

7. Big Miracle

I cried, and cried, and cried, and cried, until I couldn't cry anymore. Until...

8. The Ramen Girl

More crying, I love crying movies. And I cried more because Britney Murphy is dead, I was going: *cry* This movie is so good! *sob* But Britney Murphy is dead, she will never be this awesome again! *breakdown* And then....

9. The best exotic Marigold Hotel

So, sad. Can't, cry. Must, cry. Crying and laughing at the same time. Annnnd crying again.

10. Parental Guidance

Yay, I get to laugh! More laughing. Wait, oh no, it doesn't, it does, it gets sad. But happy sad, tears of family love. *sob* The girl told her mother she loves her, and she doesn't want anyone else to be her mom! *floodgates opened* *emotional arm flapping*

It's a good thing this is a screen and not paper or the whole thing would be tear soaked. So, what are your top ten books and movies of this year so far? And do you like crying movies? We could make an ocean together! 

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, By Cat Winters.

Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Author: Cat Winters
Amulet Books/ABRAMS
On-sale date: April 2nd 2013
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Horror
  Pages: 400

Book Description (From the back of my ARC): 

It's 1918. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, and neighbor accuses neighbor of spying for the enemy. In this stew of fear and confusion, sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and "spirit photographers" for comfort. She has never believed in ghosts, but during her bleakest moment she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns to her as a spirit. Why has he returned? And what does he want from Mary Shelley?

Illustrated with haunting early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a time eerily like our own.

I could fill one hundred pages with the word Wonderful and it wouldn't even come close to describing how wonderful this book really is. 

Not only is it the best historical fiction I have EVER read, (and believe me, I've read a lot, at least 50) but the book's heroine, Mary Shelley Black is now my favorite heroine of all time, surpassing even Hermione. Sorry J.K.. 

Not only is Mary Shelley living in a time of war and disease, but she also has to deal with her father being thrown in prison, for nothing more then not conforming his morals to what the government says is right and wrong, the boy she loves dying, and his tortured spirit that haunts her, trying to escape from monsters he thinks are killing him.

Through all this, she never breaks down, never loses hope, and never gives up. 

She is brutally honest, even with herself. When a heroine in a book is trying to solve some horrible mystery, they usually, near the end, break down, say it's too much, and do something to distract themselves, because don't they deserve a break? The one time Mary Shelley finds herself straying off the path of helping Stephan (the boy she loves) find peace, she gives it to herself straight up:

"Why would he pose for a photograph when he's suffering? You're wasting your time trying to satisfy your own curiosity. 

Stop playing. 

Go help him figure out what's wrong."

And she never strays from helping him again. In fact, she throws herself with full body force into helping him.

Another pleasant surprise in the book was that I didn't guess the culprit. I almost always guess whodunit before they are revealed. Only in this book, I kept changing my mind. It's that person right? It has to be them. I know it's them! Oh, but now I don't know. Maybe not. I was guessing until they were revealed, which NEVER happens. I truly didn't know who it was until Mary Shelley said: It was you! 

The photos in the book made it a million times better. They helped bring Mary Shelley's world alive. It felt real, which is good, because it was. 

I also LOVE the fact that Mary Shelley solves the mystery on her own. Of course she gathers helpful information and clues from various people, but she figures it out by herself. Well, she had some help from Stephen in the end there, thanks to his memories. But she had no sleuthing partner, and no mysterious, handsome, new love interest to mend her broken heart and help her put to rest her dead boyfriend so he could make out with her at the end. THANK YOU CAT WINTERS. 

This is a truly astounding, historical, girl empowering, make you think about life, and the kindness and cruelty human beings can deliver punch to the stomach that you won't ever forget. This will be a book that I will keep forever and when I look at it on my shelf I'll think: Wow. There it is. It's real. I read that. I can't believe something that good actually exists. But it is real, I did read it, and there is something that good. And I write this because when you find something really and truly good, you need to share it with the world.





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: If I Should Die, By Amy Plum.

Review: If I Should Die (Spoiler Alert! Third Book in the series!)

Title: If I Should Die
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
On-Sale Date: May 7th 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 405

Book Description (From Epic Reads):

Kate is devastated. Her boyfriend Vincent is a revenant who waited lifetimes to find her. But once he did their future together was shattered almost immediately. They were betrayed by their trusted ally, Violette. She killed Vincent and destroyed his body so that he could not be reanimated.

Now Vincent is doomed to roam the earth as a spirit. But Kate isn’t willing to accept life without her true love. She’ll risk anything to save him, even as Violette, their friend-turned-enemy, begins to wage a war to rule over France’s Immortals.

Amy Plum created an intricate, original mythology for her YA paranormal series. The books, set in Paris, the City of Lights, introduce readers to revenants, undead beings who must sacrifice themselves again and again to save the lives of strangers.

My Review:

HOLY QUAIL EGGS BATMAN! This shiznit is the bomb! This book should be President! 


I mean.... this book is really good?

Where to start? First off, I LOVE this series and I have been waiting for this book, the conclusion to a trilogy, the end of all ends, the book where we find out if Vincent likes his croissants buttered, for two years! Two years people! This book is amazing, it is all I had hoped for and more. 

I am very happy to have learned more history and secrets about the guerisseurs. Personally, I think Bran is just the cutest thing ever. Aside from Arthur, of course.

Kate's voice is much stronger and she describes everything so clearly that you feel like you're really there. This is what I love most about the books, that you really do feel like you are there with them. It does make the kissing scenes a bit awkward though. 

It was great seeing all the characters mature over the three books, Kate especially. She goes from a grief ridden teen who doesn't know how to live anymore, to a fierce, whip smart, compassionate warrior. I also love that Mamie and Papy played bigger parts, and that Georgia became more mature. Although, not too mature, she is Georgia after all! 

This book is not without sad parts, unfortunately, and I never want ANY of the characters I love to die, but it would be a little unreasonable if all the bad guys died and all the good guys lived. But hey, I would read that ending. To bad the editors wouldn't.

And ugh, Jules, you poor thing! I'll comfort you! 

I do have some questions that went unanswered: 

1. What happens with Georgia and Arthur?
2. Does Jules ever move on?
3. Does Louis become a Bardia, who did he kill, and where does his "after" life go?

Overall, this was the PERFECT ending to the Die for Me series. I recommend it to everyone and their toy poodle. Let us all bathe in the awesomeness that is Amy Plum! Go read them!