Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Top 10 "Hard" Books

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

The topic is technically "Top 10 Books That Were Hard For Me To Read (because difficulty of book, subject matter, because it was cringe worthy-- however you want to interpret)." I decided to pick ten books that were "hard" for me to read in that they took FOREVER. It wasn't necessarily the length of the books, but they were all part of school curriculum. Which means they were bogged down by tedious assignments and essays. Which made them boring and/or a pain to read. :P

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Discussion: Romance in Books

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Romance seems to be in every YA book out there- if not a relationship, the possibility of one. Romance is also the most common stumbling block in my reading. Despite watching way too many Hallmark movies and enjoying an evening curled up with a chick flick movie or book every once in a while, I have a lot of issues with the book romances I read.

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This isn't always the case. I love the relationships in old fairy tale favorites like Spindle's End, Beauty, Ella Enchanted and others. More recently, I enjoyed the pairings (or possible future pairings) in All Our Yesterdays, Written in Red, Blackwood, and, to some extent, The Lunar Chronicles.

I'm afraid saying this will invalidate my liking all the books named above, but I've wondered why I'm so picky about book romances. The most obvious reason is probably my severely limited relationship experience, but I wonder if it has more to do with my view on relationships in general.

That is, hormones and physical attraction plus shared taste in music doesn't fit my definition of "love." I think the relationships that I connect with more are those in which, not only are the characters friends of some sort, but they are together by virtue of a mutual commitment to one another, a choice, as opposed to "until I 'fall in love' with someone else." There's often a sense of finality to it, like a choice has been made and that's that. *frantically skims through books listed above to make sure their characters fit this description...*

I'm curious. Do you guys find any common factors across the literary romances you love? While you think, I'll close out with a quick list of my general rules for book romances. Yes, they all have exceptions, but in general...

General Guidelines:
  • Romance should be a subplot, not THE plot.
  • Instalove is a no-no. Slow burn or no burn.
  • Love triangles get you burned at the stake. :)

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Fan Art Up! - Jim Hawkins

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Fan Art Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

This week is #17 in the Disney Series. (Pretend you haven't read the post title for a second.)

Here are your hints:
He has daddy issues.
He wants an adventure.
He's a mechanical genius often at odds with the law.

That's right! From Disney's 2002 space adventure, "Treasure Planet," he's (young)....

Jim Hawkins

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The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde eARC (2 stars)

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I loved The Last Dragonslayer, the first book in this series. It did so many things right and was a perfect beach read. I liked book 2, The Song of the Quarkbeast, though it didn't grab me the same way. Unfortunately, the downward trend has continued with The Eye of Zoltar. Despite the treacherous setting and a new set of characters to love and hate alongside some old favorites, it feels like filler.


This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde
Series: The Chronicles of Kazam
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on October 7, 2014
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Final Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis:
Orphaned sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, a Mystical Arts Management company that rents out wizards for cash. The Mighty Shandar tells Jennifer that if she finds a mysterious jewel named The Eye of Zoltar, he will spare the dragons he didn't manage to kill in Book One.

It is said the Eye was last seen around the neck of the really very legendary and not at all likely Sky Captain Morgan, who reputedly plunders jetliners from the back of the equally legendary and probably not real Leviathan, a kind of flying manta ray the size of a coach.

Meanwhile, the King and Queen of Snodd thinks that Jennifer, 'a young lady of considerable daring, moral worth and resourcefulness' should take over the tutelage of the hideous spoiled teenage Princess Shazzine, in order that she learns to rule with distinction once the King and Queen are gone.

Jennifer agrees with some reluctance, and together, she, trainee magician Perkins and the princess - cunningly and without any originality disguised as a handmaiden - cross into the neighbouring Cambrian Empire, a dangerous country strewn with peril and a focus for bored daredevils seeking perilous adventures as a form of Jeopardy Tourism.

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Updates: Why You Don't Anger Authors

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I know I said last week was busy, but this week was busy, too. In a good way, except for the near total lack of reading. That's not so good, but a new month approaches! I did finish Chasing Power which, as predicted, could not pull it out in the end and remained a 2-star read. :(

On a happier note, I went to the Fierce Reads tour and saw Ann Aguirre, Caragh M. O'Brien and Marie Rutkoski! The store had free wi-fi, so I was tweeting snips and pictures throughout the whole thing.

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Top 10 Books on My Fall TBR List

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

The amount of reading I've done this month has been pathetic; but it's been a crazy month, so I'll give myself a pass. But now fall is here! The air is cooler, there's hot tea and cider to be had, and curling up under a blanket and reading all evening makes sense. So, to get excited for the reading binges ahead, here are the:

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Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

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Thanks to the lovely ladies at I Am A Reader and Stuck in Books for hosting!
When you find the perfect book, nothing can tear you away. Cleaning, exercise, socializing, food, sleep- they can all wait until you've finished. So, to help you survive the upcoming holidays and all the stress they entail, I'm offering a chance at escape!

THE PRIZE:
Any book you want from The Book Depository (max $17 USD)

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Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (3 stars)

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Confession: I've never seen Ocean's Eleven, but I like crime/spy thriller movies. Confession #2: I'm a bit of an X-Men geek; that is, I watched all of three or four cartoon adaptations and all the movies. So when the publisher pitched Illusive as "X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven," they hit a home run. I would definitely pick this book up. So I did. It didn't wow me the way I hoped, but it's entertaining.


Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Series: Illusive #1
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Adventure
Published on July 15, 2014
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Final Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:
The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of "super" criminals.

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She's what's known as an illusionist...She's also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn't?

The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.

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Updates: Third Time's the Charm

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It's been a fun week! Busy, but fun. Last Friday I went to an author event and got a copy of Anna and the French Kiss signed by Stephanie Perkins. Turns out we both watch way too many Hallmark movies. She said she was addicted to their Christmas movie marathons, so I had to ask whether she noticed the trend of creepy Santa Clauses. She has, and next thing you know, we're describing three or four of the movies and immediately recognizing which ones they are. It's pretty bad, but not nearly as sad as the fact that I can now recognize several Hallmark movies by one line of dialogue and/or bar of background music alone...without seeing the TV. ;)


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Top 10 Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

This week was a little tough for me. I realized, if I like an author's work, I usually read more of his/her books pretty quickly. Thus, the exceptions! Aka, the chaos of life and/or procrastination strikes!

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Discussion: ARC's v. eARC's

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I completely forget who, but a blogger mentioned on Twitter how she wasn't requesting eARC's anymore and was focusing instead on physical ARC's. Which got me thinking about the pros and cons of digital and physical advanced reading copies.

First, random question: do you call them "arks" or "A-R-C's"? I've talked to some soon-to-be-published authors who use the former, but I've always used the latter. Also, disclaimer: I've never received a physical ARC from a publisher (just the lovely finished hardcovers from the Prometheus/Pyr booth at BookCon- thank you!), so all my thoughts on that end are purely theoretical.

Physical ARC's:
I love the idea of these, and goodness knows I'd be thrilled beyond belief to see one in my mailbox, but I've seen other bloggers running into problems- one problem, really. On the bright side, it's a real, substantive THING you can hold and hug and smell, and it oftentimes has pretty cover art, and you can put it by your bed to remind yourself to read it.

On the dark side, it takes up space. Lots of space. I think most bloggers receiving ARC's are major book buyers, too, so they're often buying finished copies of the books they love. Thus, what to do with the ARC's? Giving away the read/discarded copies entails shipping costs if no other bloggers/readers live nearby; you can only replace so much furniture with shelving before family members protest; and bonfires are frowned upon. Is a puzzlement! (Kudos if you know where that line's from!)

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Fan Art Up! - Jane

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Fan Art Up! is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha @ Not Yet Read.

This week is #16 in the Disney Series. (Pretend you haven't read the post title for a second.)

Here are your hints:
She has a famous mom (for Disney fans).
She buys socks.
She wants to grow up.

That's right! From Disney's 2002 sequel that didn't stink, "Return to Never Land," she's....

Jane

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Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin eARC (4 stars)

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The synopsis calls Tabula Rasa "Bourne meets Divergent." I haven't read Divergent, but I have seen all the Bourne movies and there is common ground- namely that the protagonist doesn't know who she is, just that men with guns are chasing her. The memory loss aspect is well done, the sci-fi background for the memory loss is interesting, and the character is good, even if she only has one really "Bourne-like" moment.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Thriller
Published on September 23, 2014
Published by EgmontUSA
Final Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis:
The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

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Updates: Back in the Saddle

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Not literally "back in the saddle," although horseback riding sounds fun, too! But yes, the family situation is leveling out and needing less constant attention, so I'm easing back into blogging and blog stalking and reading and all that good stuff. :)

Currently Reading:

I'm slowly making progress through these two. I was a little annoyed with the non-linear, jumping narrative of The Lies of Locke Lamora at first, only because I didn't have the time (or focus) to sit down for a long stretch; but my brain is a little less scattered now and I'm enjoying the small chunks of time spent with it. 

Chasing Power isn't thrilling me, but I'm only about 20% in. I wonder if it's because I've only read Durst's fantasy novels, which had a much different tone and rhythm and flow to the writing. This one feels choppy and rushed by comparison, and some of the dialogue feels...a little too pleased with its own cleverness? Which either reflects badly on the author, the characters, or both. :(

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Top 10 Underrated Animated Movies

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is "Top 10 Underrated Authors or Books in X Genre." I blanked on "underrated"...and "genres"...so instead, I return to my old obsession with animated movies. I LOVED them as a kid, and I still love watching them now. To narrow the field, I'm limiting myself to traditional/2-D animation, non-Disney/Pixar/Studio Ghibli only. :)

Top 10 Underrated Animated Movies:

Cats Don't Dance - One of my favorite animated films and an homage to the days of song and dance in Hollywood. I don't know many people who remember this one, but the animation, music and story are so fun!
The Iron Giant - Okay, let's face it. It's essentially E.T. meets Wall-E, but it released too late for the one craze and too early for the second. Still, it will probably hold young boys' interest better than Cinderella and manages to poke fun at artists all at once. (My Art major cousin loves that second part.)

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Taking the Weekend Off

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Hi guys! I mentioned in this week's Updates post that I would be less active in the blogosphere this week due to some family issues. Quick update on that: my dad made it home from the hospital yesterday and is doing well, but still dealing with lots of pain. (Think limited mobility, limited appetite, and pain whenever you move.) Then my mom took a trip and fall on the tile, so she's bruised up.

Long story short, I'm trying to help out the parents this weekend, so blogging is taking a back seat. Thus, there will be no Fan Art Up or Discussion this week. :( But no worries. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled posting on Tuesday with this week's Top 10 and I'll be back to stalking all your posts. :)

Everybody have a happy weekend! (Unless you're joining me in mourning Roger Federer's loss in the US Open semi's. Congrats to Nishikori and Cilic. They both played amazing matches and should have a great final...but Roger!)

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Sora's Quest by T.L. Shreffler (3 stars)

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My experiences with self-published works vary from good to bad to ugly. Luckily, this is one of the "good." I downloaded it to my Nook on a whim, read it during a crazy reading mood, and was pleased to find a good old fashioned fantasy adventure with danger, magic and killer cat people.


Sora's Quest by T.L. Shreffler
Series: The Cat's Eye Chronicles #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on April 18, 2012
Published by Runaway Pen
Final Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:
Sora Fallcrest always dreamed of adventure, but as a member of the nobility, she learned the ways of a Lady instead. Now seventeen, she is expected to choose a husband and marry. She plots to run away, but just as she is stepping out the door, she runs into a mysterious man--and is kidnapped.

Abducted from her manor, Sora is plunged into a world of magical races, arcane jewelry and forgotten lore. She finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous assassin, haunted by an even darker past. She yearns for freedom, but he won't let her go--not when her Cat's Eye necklace is the only thing that can save his life.

But the necklace itself presents a problem. It is an ancient device from the long forgotten War of the Races, and its magic has the ability to steal souls. Can Sora learn to wield its power -- or will the power wield her?

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Updates: I Need a Drink

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I'm keeping things short this week. :)
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I did dogsitting over the weekend (which, once again, resulted in little sleep). I also went to a church picnic on Sunday. I planned on staying for a half hour to help serve salad; I wound up staying two hours plus and, like an idiot, did not drink enough...in the middle of a high humidity heat wave. Which resulted in a beet red face. You know when cartoon characters get really mad and their faces go completely red? Yeah, that was me, except I looked ready to fall over, not beat someone silly. ;)

My dad made it through surgery just fine, but he has a "fun" recovery ahead. Honestly, the combination of that and everything else has left me a little drained, so I'm giving myself permission to slack off this week. I'm not going to worry about reading or commenting on blogs- as much; I'll probably still do a little of both. And all the usual posts will still go up. I just won't be as talkative and rambly as usual. All good things!

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Top 10 Characters at My Lunch Table

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A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is "Top 10 Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table" for back to school week. Umm.....I really have no clue, so let's go with characters I know would entertain me. ;)

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