Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon eARC (2.5 stars)

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I had trouble getting into Illusionarium. It went from slow to slower, despite what should have been really arresting developments. Still, after a long break, I came back to it and found the second half much more enjoyable.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Published on May 19, 2015
Published by Greenwillow
Final Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis:
What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

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Updates: Cards, Clothes, Comics & Books

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My business cards for BEA came in yesterday! Small and simple, but I think they'll do. :)


This past Saturday, I attempted one major session of clothes shopping--and survived. ;) The good news: I found a new pair of sneakers and stumbled upon some good suit separates on sale, thus checking off blazers from my list and contributing to my law school collection. (The clothes are from Boscov's in case you wanted to know.)

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Top 10 Characters Who Do Magic

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I read a lot in the fantasy genre, so (when I failed to think of enough characters who can sing, dance, paint, etc.) I went with "Top 10 Characters Who Do Magic." Looking for your next read after Harry Potter? Look no further. Already read all of these? Let me know who your favorites are! :)

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Art It Up! - Speak Slowly

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

I watched a really thought-provoking interview this morning. It's had me thinking about the impact our words and actions can have--the impressions they leave. Cue quick pen sketch. :)

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Random Amusement: Totepacks, Olsens & DC

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With BEA just over a month away, I've been considering my options--bag options, that is. I like the idea of only carrying one bag, but totes, backpacks and messengers all have their downsides. Which got me thinking, and Google searching....

Tote bags + backpacks = Totepacks!
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Naturally, I made a Pinterest board. :) I haven't sewn anything since...high school? But if I could find a good tote bag pattern to alter, it might be worth a shot. I'm thinking about it.

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Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown by Michael Alan Nelson eARC (2 stars)

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Hexed is a good example of what I would call "right setting, wrong story." Approximately 90% of Hexed revolves around a girl who won't shut up about her crush. Yes, the synopsis clearly indicates romantic angst will be present, but I didn't expect a tidal wave of it. The last quarter of the book finally delivers on some of the action and magical danger the synopsis promises, but, for me, it was too little, too late.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown by Michael Alan Nelson
Series: ?
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Published on May 5, 2015
Published by Pyr
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
Luci Jenifer Inacio das Neves, Lucifer for short, isn't your typical teenaged girl. She's a thief who survives by stealing bad things from bad people in the magical and mystical underworld hidden beneath our own. So when a policeman's daughter, Gina, is kidnapped by a force he can't explain, Lucifer is the only one who has a chance at getting his daughter back.

With the unsolicited help of Gina's friends, including Gina's boyfriend David, Lucifer's investigation leads to the unfortunate truth of the kidnapping. Gina was taken to an otherworldly dimension by a creature of unspeakable evil: one of the Seven Sisters of Witchdown. Against all odds, Lucifer must use every magical tool hidden in her trick bag to steal her way into the Shade and bring Gina back before the Sister sacrifices her for her own dark ends. But the closer Lucifer gets to Gina, the closer she gets to David. And David to her. Lucifer must risk her life by confronting demons, witches, and the cruel demigoddess controlling her destiny - all to save the one girl who stands in the way of Lucifer finally finding love.

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Updates: Netflix & BEA Prep

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Netflix sucked me in again. I was so curious to see what Marvel did with the new Netflix Original Series "Daredevil." The cinematography is pretty dark and stylized, and they picked a really interesting psych profile for the Kingpin, but it was well done. :) And, of course, after I finished binging that, I got sucked into "Haven" again. I feel like I should at least finish the first season before I take a break. ;)

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And BEA 2015 is officially only five weeks away! Which means I have a bit of shopping to do, namely in the shoe department. My sneakers are down to zero tread and my flip-flops have lost all their soft, cushiony support. While assessing the closet, I found a few other gaps, so we'll see what's on sale this weekend.

Where do you guys like to shop for "nice" clothes? I'm an absolute cheapskate who hates spending more than $10 on anything, but, especially with law school ahead, I think it might be time to start investing in some better quality (but not too expensive) work clothes.

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Top 10 All-Time Favorite Authors

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Asking me to name my favorite authors is hard--mostly because I read on a book-by-book basis. Even if I love everything else an author has written, I can still hit a dud or just not be interested in one of his/her newer releases. That said, the following are some of my all-time favorite authors, not because I love everything they've written, but because they've all managed to do something special for me.

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Random Amusement: Biz Card, Articles, Disney, HISHE

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I think the BEA business cards are finally ready to go. I've been spending a ton of time on Canva trying out different fonts and designs. (Which, by the way, is a great free graphic design tool for hours of amusement.)

Business Card Sneak Peak:


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Omega City by Diana Peterfreund eARC (3 stars)

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I love finding good middle grade stories because they're fun. Omega City succeeded in entertaining me, not only because it's fun, but because it's also a tense, dangerous adventure; and it balances the two beautifully. I loved Peterfreund's YA sci-fi, dystopian For Darkness Shows the Stars. Omega City proves she's also a name to watch in middle grade.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Omega City by Diana Peterfreund
Series: Omega City #1
Genres: MG, Sci-fi, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Published on April 28, 2015
Published by Balzer + Bray
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
City of Ember meets The Goonies in the first novel of an exciting new middle grade series from acclaimed author Diana Peterfreund!

Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War–era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced them to move to a cottage in the sticks, but Gillian knows he’s right and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle—a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off on a journey deep into the earth, into the ruins of a vast doomsday bunker.

But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. Now Gillian and her friends must race to explore Omega City and find the answers they need. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried...forever.

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Updates: Scissorhands Was Here

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I made a BIG change this week. After essentially five years of growing my hair out, this past Saturday, I cut it. (By which I mean, unlike that time in Spain with the mini-scissors and the mini-mirror, I was smart and let a professional do it.) I feel like I should hold up a sign: "Edward Scissorhands was here."


That's about 17.5" of hair I'm holding from end to end, and it's on its way to Locks of Love. I'm still getting used to the new length (which doesn't work well with my favorite clip), but it makes hair care much faster.

I'm also close to finishing my business cards for BEA. I have a bunch of designs prepped. Now I just have to choose one or two and order them. I haven't really done business cards since that Pub Layout & Design class several years ago, so I may send out some emails asking for opinions. Because y'all are smart cookies. :)

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Discussion: "Strong" Women

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What makes a "strong" female protagonist?

It's a question I've been pondering since I ran across a Twitter conversation wherein several authors were discussing the new "Cinderella" live-action remake. They talked about how the MC wasn't "fierce" and how stories about quietly strong women are good, but there are already enough of them out there. I saw another author give a series of tweets explaining why she saw this same Cinderella as a survivor of abuse who went on to find happiness in life.

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There are lots of different ideas in there--lots of food for thought. What makes a woman "fierce"? Are stories about certain types of women unnecessary or unwanted because similar characters have already been written? (In which case, why do we ever bother writing anything "new"?) Are we trying to downplay or ignore a part of many women's personalities? Are we saying certain kinds of women aren't worth talking about?

Tabitha (Not Yet Read) did a fun, snarky interview with urban fantasy author Faith Hunter a little while back (which I recommend reading in its entirety), but this particular quote caught my eye:
FAITH: All females are strong. Or we should be. Pollyanna went out with the fifties. We have female warriors serving in dangerous places, lives on the line. .....

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Art It Up! - Storm Siren

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

Today's sketch is inspired by Nym from Mary Weber's Storm Siren and Siren's Fury. I guess more the second book with how dark and shadowy it is.

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Random Amusement: Bookmarks, Superheroes, HISHE

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Welcome to my new feature, "Random Amusement," in which I share things that have randomly amused me throughout the week. Kind of like Pinterest, but there's a size limit, so you won't look up two hours later and wonder where the time went. ;)

Arts/Crafts:
I love finding DIY projects online. I'm not great about actually sitting down to do them, but I love finding them.


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Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (3 stars)

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Mini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)


Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Published on October 6, 2009
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

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Updates: It's Been a Long Reading Slump

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March was not a good reading month. I can partially blame it on the death, funeral, etc., but that was only two weeks max. Honestly, I just hit a bit of a slump and needed to take a breather.

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On the bright side, my Netflix binges resulted in the halving of my Watchlist once I tried a bunch of stuff that's been sitting there for months and promptly removed it. I also started "Haven," which I'm really liking. A bit of police procedural, a bit of paranormal/sci-fi, a healthy dash of humor, and fun characters. :)

On the bright side....

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Top 5 Characters I'd Like To Check In With

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Apparently, I have a severe lack of curiosity and/or a lot of books ended really well and left me with no concerns/qualms/anxiety regarding the characters' futures. I say we go with that second one. ;)

But yeah, I had a really hard time coming up with characters whose lives I wish I could peek in on after the book ends. There are certainly characters I wouldn't mind revisiting for another adventure, but...I don't know. I think it was easier to think of movies I wish had sequels or TV shows that were prematurely canceled. With books...well, let's just say I found a lot of unfinished series while I perused my reading list.

Anyway, without further ado:

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Updates: Super Quick

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This will be a super quick edition of updates because my modem at home unexpectedly died, so I'm stealing internet time elsewhere. Here's hoping I can get that replaced asap.

The Rundown:
Saturday - Dean's Law Day at Rutgers. I have half an idea what I signed up for now! ;) It's going to be a busy fall, but good, I think.
Sunday - Bowling with the church group. I won't tell you what my scores were (and I was on a bumpers lane, too). It was pretty bad.
Monday - Funeral for my dad's father.
Tuesday - Mini graveside service before the burial.
Wednesday - Realized I'd caught a cold.
Thursday - Realized the internet at home wasn't working.
(Saturday-Tuesday: lots of time with family, and a couple trips to the airport.)

My family has a really dry, sarcastic sense of humor, so it was a weekend full of reminiscing and poking fun at one another. ;) In that vein, here's a quick little moment of remembrance:

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Top 10 Books Recently Added to My TBR List

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We're following up last week's agonizing look at books we plan to read within a specific time period (until our plans inevitably fall apart) with a look at books we'd like to read at some undetermined point in the future. Zero pressure! :D

And rather than wrack my brain for which books are the ones I most want to read, I just pulled up Goodreads, clicked the sort-by-date button, and picked 10 of the most recently added books. Which is good, because I seem to have picked up a cold and am incapable of complex thoughts at present. :)

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