Bookstore Love

A home is where the heart is.

Well, my heart is wherever the books are, and that has always meant that I’ve counted bookstores and libraries among my homes. I grew up camped out in the cafe of Barnes and Nobles, and navigating through the shelves of my local library (weighed down by towering stacks of hardcovers). My friends have always known to keep a firm grip on me whenever I spot a bookstore, because if they loosen they’re hold, I’ll dart inside. And once I’m inside, I can’t stay for mere minutes. Impossible!

 

This weekend, I was up in Sag Harbor, Long Island with a few friends. We were passing to the grocery store for Smores ingredients (because we planned to tell scary stories that night, and you can’t tell scary stories without marshmallows roasting in the background) but when I passed by an adorable bookstore, Harbor Books, I carefully backed away from my friends and darted through the entrance, leaving them, mystified, on the streets. I had to!

And once inside, I couldn’t even feel guilty. This independent bookstore was small but charming. Two cats (pictured above) lolled around lazily, and my attention flitted from the two of them back to the books, back to the cats, back to the books…you get the point. Meanwhile, a large, blocky tollbooth represented the Phantom Tollbooth, and gave me such a rush of nostalgia that I was tempted to buy The Phantom Tollbooth right there, even though I have a copy back home.

Large plush chairs ensured that I would have stayed for hours if not for my impatient friends, already tracking me down.

Even though I didn’t stay long, this bookstore reminded me how much I love exploring independent bookstores, as well as B&N. Amazon may be cheap, but it’s nothing compared to actually browsing in a physical bookstore. Be still, my heart! Be still, and take my money! You deserve it.

That said, what’s your favorite bookstore?! Let me know the name, and why you love it! (Wouldn’t it be great to compile them altogether and take a massive road trip to all of them??!!!)

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Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Score: 4.3

My Score: 4

Things I Disliked: Pacing could be a little uneven at times.

Things I Liked: Loved the Fae world, romance had me like ahhhhhhh.

Review in a sentence: YA Fantasy inspired by the tales of Beauty and the Beast and Tam Lin with great worldbuilding and plenty of romance, but uneven pacing at times.

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“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.” 

(Goodreads)

As I write this review, I’m also in the middle of another of Sarah J. Maas’ series–the Throne of Glass books. Which are awesome and witty and great and evidently in high demand right now, as the third book was disappointingly missing from my local B&N. But then I stumbled onto A Court of Thorns and Roses and I didn’t feel so disappointed anymore.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first in a new series by Maas, and the first book is inspired by both Beauty and the Beast and the story of Tam Lin. I’ve always had a fondness for Beauty and the Beast retellings–Stockholm syndrome aside–and so was already excited even before the first page.

As always, Maas’s writing is captivating; it’s hard to set her books down. I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses in one day, staying up past four in the morning because how could I not?! The book set off at a good pace, but once the protagonist, Feyre, made it to Tamlin’s estate, the action lulled, with most of the intrigue-factor in the middle of the book stemming from the romantic tension between the two leads. Speaking of romance, it was an edgier notch up from Throne of Glass…especially when it came to certain faerie rituals (you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about once you read it). I loved reading about the different species of faeries and just delving deeper and deeper into the beautiful world that Maas created. I think it’s a testament to her great writing that after I finished the book I immediately wanted to read everything I could find about the fair folk.

The main character, Feyre, was neither annoying nor a favorite of mine. Protagonist + tragedy + heavy responsibilities + stubbornness + skilled with a particular weapon. It’s a popular formula…but then, there’s a reason for that. Tragic pasts lend depth, stubborn characters tend to be more interesting than those who take orders blindly, etc. Perhaps my lack of passion for Feyre wasn’t from any particular quality she had, but the lack of anything that truly made me want to cheer her on. On the other hand, two of my favorite characters were Feyre’s sister, Nesta, and Lucien, another faerie, mostly because their personalities both intrigued me. I really wanted to know more about their pasts–so here’s hoping we’ll find out more in the sequel.

One gripe I had with the book was the overall pacing. Like I said earlier, sometimes the middle felt too languid. But then it was non-stop action for the last hundred pages. Literally non-stop. But I do like that Maas spent so much time in the evolution of Tamlin’s and Feyre’s relationship, so I guess either way would have been a trade-off.

All in all, I would definitely recommend A Court of Thorns and Roses if you’re into romance and fantasy. When I first finished it, I was wriggling with feelings and all ‘ohmygosh I love this, must tell friends’. I think a lot of that was because the passion was palpable and gorgeous, smoldering faeries and whatnot. Now that I’ve had a week or two of distance, I still really like it and will probably re-read it at some point, but I’ve also gained enough objectivity to realize that I prefer Throne of Glass, which has the same signature Maas-style romance, but also more of a witty edge…and, of course, an assassin.

Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? Do you agree or disagree with my review? What books have you been loving/hating? Let me know in the comments! 

 

The GIF Tag

This post is brought to you by the letter P for Procrastination. It’s Final Paper Week at my university, wherein four essays are due within a time span of a week, so needless to say, I should not be on the internet right now. Buuuuuuuut, if I wasn’t blogging, I’d be playing Tetris or refreshing Facebook or just staring blankly at my Word Document, so at least now I’m doing something productive, kind of. It’s time for the GIF Tag! The lovely A Kernel of Nonsense tagged me for this, and for that she gets the Awesome Person of the Moment award.

This tag was a lot of fun, and a great way to read up on some books I didn’t know about, yet! The tag is this: someone gives you a list of ten books, to which you have to find a GIF that accurately portrays you reaction to said book. Very simple, in theory. Quite hard in reality. Especially when you’re looking for a crying gif, and can’t decide with Pam from the Office, or Pikachu from Pokemon. The choices! Gah! But, if I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it, pull yourself together, and you’ll pull through ittttt–oh. Sorry. I’ve been watching too many animated musicals, lately.

Anyways. Let’s begin, shall we?

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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I just don’t know about this one. On one hand, everybody seems to like it. On the other hand, the summary didn’t really interest me. So, meh. I’m thinking about it. If it really is so amazing ohslkdfjsdk can’t even then let me know, and I’ll give it a try.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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I tried to keep it together. I almost did. I got to those last couple of chapters before the end of the book, and I only lost two tears. And then I finished the book. I closed the cover. And that’s when the sobbing came. I think that was one of the only times were I started crying after the last page; it honestly surprised me.

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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You can’t die. I like you too much!

4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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I haven’t read it yet, but the description of the book sounds super cool, and now it’s on my Want List.

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Believe me, if I had any remaining book funds, I’d be at the bookstore in exactly three, two, now.

6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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“Wait…you haven’t read the Catcher in the Rye? WHAT?” 

I’m sorry! I just haven’t. Maybe some day.

7. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

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I haven’t read this book, nor have I watched Dexter. But the plot immediately made me think of the television show…or, rather, what I’ve heard of it. I’m sure they are either only slightly similar or maybe not at all, but other than that I didn’t really have any GIF-like thoughts.

8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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This book always brings about heightened emotions. Like, all the shit that goes down I take personally. And I get indignant, furious, miserable, and all those other emotions and it’s all because I love the book.

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 

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Finally! A book even Gaston would approve of.

10. A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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No! No! Wait up–guys, wait for meeeeee. I still haven’t started the Throne of Glass series! *heavy breathing as I fall behind on all the cool new books.*

So, there you go! My choices for the GIF tag. It was pretty fun tracking down all the different GIFs, and I think I might be sneaking more GIFs into blogging, so watch out and stop me if the mania begins to overwhelm me, haha.

I’m not tagging anyone in particular for this tag, but I am extending the offer to participate to anyone reading this! So, if you thought this looks like a fun thing to do, then play along. Your books are:

1. Wuthering Heights

2. Geek Girl

3. The Rosie Project

4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

5. Gone Girl

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

7. Looking for Alaska

8. The Vampire Diaries series

9. Artemis Fowl series

10. The Princess Diaries

The Hype, the Hope, and the Hesitation: On Reading Massively Popular Books

Book blogs raved about it, it was on the forefront of so many Top 10 lists, and even my friends were encouraging me to read it. And because I had ten dollars to spend and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell was sold out, I caved. I finally bought the book Cinder.

Cinder

And I then finished Cinder. On the same day, at that. It was that good. I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong–I love fairy tale retellings, and this one was definitely one of the more unique ones, but I just never really cared for the story of Cinderella.  (Never mind that Just Ella, another Cinderella retelling, is one of my favorite books. I read it in middle school because it was one of the only on my teacher’s bookshelf that I hadn’t finished.)

So while everyone went on and on about Cinder, I was busy with books like The Sisters Grimm, and the Looking Glass Wars. (Both fab.) And then people kept talking about Cinder, and I began to feel so jealous because what was I missing out on? What if the book really is great? And turns out, it was. Cinder was a spectacular twist on the original boring, slightly drippy tale of Cinderella and I loved it and if I had another ten dollars I’d buy the second book now, too. But after I finished Cinder and realized that the hype surrounding it had been hyping it for a reason, I began thinking about the nature of book-hype, and how it affects different readers. Because while I usually am more compelled to buy a book when everyone is talking about it, I’ve noticed many bloggers write that they are reluctant to read books because of the hype. And I can kind of see where they’re coming from. When everybody is raving about a particular book, the standards are impossible high, which often leads to disappointment. But the curiosity to find out what everybody is talking about always convinces me to buy the book, and in truth, I’ve found some of my favorite books by just going with the flow. Of course, just like anybody else, I’ve been let down by a book that so many people love, and I think that, in a way, that’s a really cool thing about books. That what a hundred people choose as their favorite book could be a letdown for one person, and that one person’s favorite book could spark nothing but antipathy in a hundred people. Books are all subjective; they mean something different and strike a new chord in every person they meet. They are like music for the eyes.

In any case, I digress. Because I was thinking about books and the hype that surrounds them, I found myself wondering what books I read because of the hype, and whether or not I think they deserved the hype. I also started thinking of books that deserved more hype. So I decided to tell you my personal example of each. Feel free to leave your own experiences in the comments!

 A book that you read because of the hype: Cinder, of course! As I said earlier, the only reason I read the futuristic retelling of Cinderella was because everybody was going glowy over it.

A book that you declined to read despite/because of the hype: Well, I don’t really choose not to read books that everyone else loves. Usually, hype makes me excited. But a book that I didn’t read that has a lot of hype would be the Maze Runner by James Dashner. (Whoah. Just noticed that the guy whose most famous book is the Maze Runner has a last name that includes the word Dash. Just whoah.) I probably will eventually, though. It’s just not that important to me.

A book that deserves the hype: Hmm. This is hard. Because a lot of books deserve the hype. But the one I’m thinking about right now would be the City of Bones. I started this series years ago, when it was still popular but not insanely, movie-out popular like it is today. But, like I said, it was popular and as I read it I remember thinking ‘well, no wonder.’

A book that disappointed: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. It seems like so many people were giddy about this book, but to me the best part was the cover. Finley had two different personalities, and I didn’t care about either one.

And finally:

A book that deserves more hype: Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde. I absolutely loved this book when I was in middle school. It takes place almost exclusively in a virtual reality world where the heroine has become trapped, and follows her attempts at escape through the only means possible: winning the game.  The writing was witty, the main character was likable, and there was a dragon! Despite all this, I don’t think it was ever super popular, although it has a strong Goodreads score. So, yes, you should check it out.

So, my questions to you: Does the hype surrounding a book affect the likelihood that you’ll read it? If so, does it influence you in a positive way, or a negative way? Also, what books deserve the hype, and which ones don’t? Let me know in the comments, below! 

‹Oh, wow. Just realized this was my 42nd post. I shall take this time to pay homage to Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

 

Top Most Awesome Quotes Part 3

Have you ever came across a quote in a book that just struck something deep inside you, and in that moment, you had to write it down so you’d never forget it? I have. In fact, I get enamored with quotes frequently, and I have an ever evolving list where I compile them all. These quotes range from funny, to inspiring, to wise, to simply beautiful. And I like sharing them, and hearing quotes from people who also keep their favorites close to heart, so with no further ado, here’s the next 10.

  • “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Lady Windmere’s Fan, Wilde

 

  • “I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” – The Book Thief, Zusak

 

  • “’But that’s just as bad,’ protested Milo.’You mean just as good,’ corrected the Humbug. ‘Things which are equally bad are also equally good. Try to look at the bright side of things.'” – The Phantom Tollbooth, Juster

 

  • “Population: None.

    It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite member divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.” – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Adams

 

  • “It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew—and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world.” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Rowling

 

  • “It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting ‘Cathy’ and banging your head against a tree.” – Bridget Jone’s Diary, Fielding 

 

  • “Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.” – Jane Eyre, Bronte

 

  • “It takes ten times as long to put yourself together as it does to fall apart.” – Mockingjay,  Collins

 

  • “’I just thought to myself, all of a sudden, that we had something in common. A natural chemistry, if you will. And I had a feeling that something big was going to happen. To both of us. That we were, in fact, meant to be together.’

    ‘You got all this,’ I said, clarifying, ‘at the tire display?'” – This Lullaby, Dessen

And, as last time, for my final quote I’ve selected one that a visitor left by. I’m really happy that people leave quotes in the comments, because they all are fantastic, and I’ve put several new books on my to read list just because I figure that if the author had one quote like that, then maybe the whole book is great. This week’s final quote is brought to you by Molly Mortensen, who left a quote from Terry Pratchett that I found both amusing and true.

  • Death: “Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.” – The Hogfather, Pratchett

What are your favorite quotes? Do you also like to collect/write quotes down? Let me know in the comments, below! 

Friday Fight Day: Duel of the Diaries

It’s that time. Or, rather, day. Friday (although barely–11:40 at the time of this post). And you know what that means. DUN DUN DUN.

It’s Friday Fight Day! Each Friday I chose two things (whether they be more broad concepts like last Friday’s Battle of the Bad Boys, or narrow items like this week’s battle) and make them clash it out. I then crown a winner, because I totally have that kind of power.

Today’s category is: DUEL OF THE DIARIES: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson vs. The Princess Diaries 

Bum, bum, bum.

The lights dim to a dull glow. Action music starts up, audible but not overbearing. There is the feeling that something–something important–is about to happen. And then it happens.

To your left, a voice says, “There can only be one.”

In confusion, you stare into the near darkness. But the voice isn’t talking to you. Because in the next moment, someone else entirely responds, “You’re right. And that one is me.”

The lights go up, andddddddd on each side of the room, a book stands. To your left is the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series. To your right is the Princess Diaries series. They are both diaries, they are both hilarious, they both have endearing protagonists, and there can only be one to reign supreme.

LET’S DO THIS THANG.

Competitor 1: The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson is a ten book series that circles on the adventures, embarrassments, and romances of one Georgia Nicholson. Georgia is…rude, flighty, outrageous, hilarious, and strangely charming. Romance wise, she falls easily in love, and has trouble making a commitment, although that adds to her hilariosity.

Competitor 2: The Princess Diaries is also a ten series book, although it has multiple novellas to accompany it. This one has more of a set plot. It revolves around Mia Thermopolis, who one moment is an average (although oddly tall) freshman trying to make it through high school, and the next moment she is the heir to the throne of Genovia.

And here comes punch one. MC v. MC.

“You might be a princess,” Georgia says*. “But I don’t have to be special to be entertaining. I romp around having misadventures and dating different guys, and that’s all I need to be double cool with knobs. Now take your sorry Princeass to an Agony Aunt.”

“Normally, I don’t like confrontation, but you asked for it. Just because you don’t have a plot, doesn’t make you special. And you don’t need to date a new boy each chapter to find true romance.”

Mia is shy, kind, prone to panic, loyal, and awkwardly adorable. She sucks at Algebra, is ace at writing, and hates confrontation.

Georgia is the opposite of shy. Bursting with excitement and a flair for life , Georgia is outrageous, sassy, indecisive, mischievous, and over dramatic.

Hmm. Two polarized personalities. But out of the two of them, I would have to say I like Mia a smidgen more. I may relate more to Georgia’s craziness, but I look up to Mia.

Friends into the ring (2 each): “I need backup!”

Confessions of Georgia

Confessions has a range of supporting characters that stick out. The Ace Gang are the friends I wish I had. For sake of time, I’ll only pick two, although the whole gang is awesome-saucem.

Jas: Georgia’s best friend. The seriousness to Georgia’s spasticness, the two often fight, and since we are reading Georgia’s thoughts, we often see Jas as the annoying girl with the wonky fringe. Still, the book wouldn’t be the same without her.

Rosie: My favorite of the Ace Gang. Even more mad than Georgia, with a mischievous, fearless side that often gets Georgia and her into fantastic trouble.

Princess Diaries

The group of friends in the Princess Diaries is less cliquish than the Ace Gang, with new members being added to the circle, while other friends leave. Here are two notable friends.

Lily: Oh, Lily. A bitch to the bone at some parts, but a really cool, quirky character at other times. As the little sister to Mia’s main man, even when Lily and Mia are fighting, Lily is still a part of Mia’s life, for good or bad.

Tina: Obsessed with romance books, Tina only becomes friends with Mia after Mia becomes a princess and decides to talk to an equally isolated girl at school. The two hit it off, and Tina’s sweetness and over enthusiasm makes her a great addition to Mia’s friends.

While I appreciate the friends of both book series, I feel closer to the Ace Gang because of their absolute fabnosity. A solid hit to the Princess Diaries, unfortunately.

Boys in the House: A dash of romance

Oh, where to start with Confessions? Georgia is young and doesn’t know exactly what she wants, which means she ends up dating (or at least kissing) half the guys in the series. The three most notable ones, though, are the Sex God (Robbie), the Italian Stallion, and Dave the Laugh.

Dave the Laugh is by FAR my favorite of the three. He is hilarious, he is crush worthy, and he is the guy that I wish would fall of the pages and into my life. He’s always been a big crush of mine, because I can’t resist a guy who knows how to make me…well, laugh.

VS. 

Mia, on the other hand, is not as taken by her hormones as Georgia was. There are two main romances in the series: Michael Moscovitz and J.P. If you’ve read the series, you obviously know my favorite of the two, because who in their right mind would pick J.P. over Michael? No. Noooooo. NO. Does not happen.

Michael is sweet and smart, a great combination. He is also a musician, which is not a bad benefit. Although Mia and him go through a rough patch, he is ultimately there for her, and if Dave the Laugh isn’t around, then Michael would not be a bad replacement.

BUT, Dave the Laugh is around, and so Confessions has to win again on this one.

The Results

Wow. I was planning on doing some more categories, but I never realized how much I really ramble. So to save your poor eyes, we’re going to have to end it here.

In the Duel of the Diaries, I have to declare Confessions of Georgia Nicolson as my favorite. Although both are phenomenal series, I love to laugh, and Confessions makes me do just that on every single page.

Congratulations to the Ace Gang!

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If you’ve read both of these books, tell me which one you thought deserved to be crowned winner. And if you’ve read at least two books told in a diary format, tell me which one of them is the better of the two! Or if you have any suggestions for what next Friday’s Fight Day should be, let me know! Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting! 😀

*Oh, by the way…both of these series make it onto my all time favorite list. So, if you haven’t read them, do just that.

*Georgia does not really say this. Just letting you know. I’ve stolen her voice for the moment. Muhahahaha.