Give Me a Head of Hair, Long, Beautiful Hair: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Hello Bookity Bookworms!

You know I dig a fractured fairy tale, right? I just finished up the latest installment of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles by reading Cress. If you’re interested, I read and reviewed both Cinder (review) and Scarlet (review) once upon a time as well. Re-reading those posts, I don’t think they reflect how much I really enjoyed these books. I’m going to try to be better this time! Obviously, this is the third book in the series, so talking about it might be a little SPOILERY for the preceding books, and maybe a tiny bit spoilery for Cress  (but only if you can’t guess at super obvious things.) Of course, the books are all based on fairy tales, so you probably know where it’s going anyway. Still. Warning.

cressCress is a retelling of Rapunzel. Cress was born on the moon, but since the Lunars are all evil and stuff, she was sent to die when it was discovered she was a “shell” (that’s the equivalent of a Squib to you Potterheads.) Instead of being killed, Cress was raised in some creepy moon tunnels and imprisoned in a satellite when her talent for computer programming and hacking was discerned. She was stuck in the satellite (er, “tower”) and her hair grew super long. Then, you know, Cinder and Scarlet and the gang are chilling in their spaceship and decide to rescue Cress. Only, things go wrong, adventure ensues. Adventure with androids and spaceships and crashes and deserts and wicked Lunars, naturally.

I think this series is a blast- it’s a lot of fun to toy around with fairy tales and give them new life. As far as Cress goes, I liked that Meyer didn’t fixate on the whole hair thing overmuch, and used some of the elements of the Rapunzel legend that people tend to forget about. Thorne as a character reminds me a LOT of the dashing Flynn Rider (or Eugene Fitzherbert, as it were) from Disney’s Tangled. The thing is, it felt a little too borrowed maybe, because in old school Rapunzel, the handsome prince was just a plain old prince, not a bad boy gone good. That said, I still totally would have fallen for a smolder look from Thorne.

And because I’m nitpicking, Wolf’s ongoing obsession with Scarlet felt very Twilight to me— the fixation seemed a lot like the whole “imprinting” thing. Then again, wolves do have their alphas, so maybe that’s more a wolf trait than a Twilight trait? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure if it came to a wolf fight, Wolf the mutant super soldier could kick Jacob Black’s furry backside. I’m pretty stoked for the final installment, because it’s based on Snow White , and I’m anticipating the mother of all happily ever afters!

Bookworms! I must know. Anybody else out there digging The Lunar Chronicles? Do you love a good fractured fairy tale? What’s your favorite? I’m all ears! (The better to hear you with, of course.)

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Top Ten Bookish Characters

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s Tuesday again! I love joining the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish in their list making endeavors, and this week is no exception. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Characters Who…” YES, they are letting me FILL IN THE BLANK! I’m going to make a list of characters who are BOOKISH. Wahoo!

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1. Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Francie, Francie, Francie! The tenements of Brooklyn in the early 1900s weren’t the easiest place for a bookworm to grow up, but Francie had her library card and a fire escape. (my review)

2. Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling: Seriously, how many times would Harry and Ron have died if it hadn’t been for Hermione and her bookish wisdom? Brilliant.

3.  Joan from Pope Joan by Diana Woolfolk Cross: To be a bookworm and a girl in the dark ages was darn near impossible, especially if your dad was a super jerkface and opposes your education at every turn. (my review)

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4. Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Ever since I first read this book in high school, I’ve toyed with the idea of reading all the books Charlie’s English teacher gave him as special assignments. Maybe that should go on my bookish bucket list? (my review)

5. Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” This. Just this.

6. Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Jo March is one of my all time favorite characters. I don’t know what it is about Little Womenbut it will always have a special place in my heart.

7. Tyrion Lannister from the Song of Ice and Fire Series by George RR Martin: I might be a little obsessed with Tyrion. He is SO AWESOME.

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8. CeeCee Honeycutt from (appropriately) Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman: All the girl wants to take with her when she leaves home is her box of beloved books. SOMEBODY GET ME A HANKIE! (my review)

9. Alaska Young from (also appropriately) Looking for Alaska by John Green: Alaska’s life’s library with her stacks and stacks of thrift store and garage sale books made me feel a strange kinship to the manic pixie dream girl. (my review)

10. Liesel from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: The girl steals books, for heaven’s sake. Despite a rocky start with reading, Liesel learns to love the written word and, just… Oh man. Just read it, okay? (my review)

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My dear, dear bookworms, I know I haven’t done justice to the great bookish characters in the world, I’ve merely scratched the surface. Who are some of your favorites?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Six Degrees of Separation: Burial Rites (Or, How Katie is a Big Cheater-Face.)

Greetings Bookworms!

I recently discovered this fantastic new meme through Rory at Fourth Street Review that’s put on by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. Once a month Annabel and Emma will choose a book they both enjoyed. Readers will be tasked with creating a 6-degrees-of-separation chain beginning with said book. There’s a ton of room for creativity, because there are no guidelines on the connections. Whatever you feel is fair game, and that’s totally my kind of meme!

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I know it might be a bit presumptuous to cheat this system since it’s my first time at this particular rodeo, but the starting point for this month was Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (my review). I actually came up with several different chains, but I liked the initial connections of all of them SO MUCH that I decided just to make a six lists of one separation… Or something. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a minute, I swear. READY?!

1. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan: Alright, this connection is tenuous, I’ll admit, but these are the things that jump out at me. YOGURT. While reading Burial Rites, I kept googling things I hadn’t heard of, particularly the food. Skyr is a traditional Icelandic food that is apparently similar to yogurt. There was a point in A Visit from the Goon Squad where they discussed one of the girls’ mothers making homemade yogurt. I didn’t actually like the book but that whole yogurt thing made an impression.

2. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: I saw soooo many parallels between Agnes and Tess! The tragic ends and the circumstances and the heartbreak. I just. Yeah. Agnes and Tess are like soul sisters.

3. The Green Mile by Stephen King: It’s hard to not connect this book with Burial Rites, I mean, they’re both about characters awaiting their executions. And they’re both pretty fabulous. It works. (my review)

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4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I couldn’t help but link this series to Burial Rites. It’s got to do with the whole Nordic vibe and the less than awesome justice system Lisbeth and Agnes were subjected to. Plus, the court representatives in both books were pretty big douche canoes, so, yeah.

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: I was really struck at some of the description of Icelandic winters while reading Burial RitesIt sounded so darn BLEAK. The only landscape I could conjure up that was anywhere close to the Icelandic winter was the post apocalyptic nightmare Cormac McCarthy put together. And I thought Illinois sucked in the winter. (my review)

6. The Remedy by Thomas Goetz: Nobody can cough up blood without me thinking they have TB, and nobody can have TB without me thinking of The Remedy! The matriarch of the farm where Agnes is held is struggling with some suspiciously tuberculosis-like symptoms. I’m just saying. (my review)

There we have it! Katie’s cheater-cheater version of Six Degrees of Separation. Are there any books that you might link to Burial RitesTell me about it, Bookworms!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Just Around The Riverbend: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

Ahoy Bookworms!

I’m feeling listy and rather nautical. Being the landlocked lady that I am, I have no access to an ocean. I do, however, get to drive to and fro over the Illinois River on the daily. Remember how much fun we had talking about books linked by wind? Let’s play that again, only this time, we’re using “river” as our linking word. On your mark, get set, ROW! (Ah, I kid. A little river pun for you.)

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1. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway: Time travel romance is totally my jam, so I loved the crap out of this book. You can travel through time (if you’re the right sort of person) on the river of human emotion. Hello, awesome concept, nice to see you! (my review)

2. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton: A glittery society party in the 1920s at a swanky English country estate lead to tragedy. The key to unlocking the mystery behind the debacle may lie in the memories of an elderly house maid. Part mystery, part love story, part servant life, this book has a little bit of everything. (my review)

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3. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi: I don’t know how often I can rave about this book, but let’s do it once more for good measure, shall we? Trudi Montag is a dwarf living in Nazi Germany. Trudi’s insider view of Nazi Germany on the home front combined with her outsider’s view of society as someone inherently different offer a stunning portrait of society, war, and love. Basically? This book kicks butt. Read it now.

What say you, Bookworms? Any fabulous “river” titles I’m missing out on? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission… Which will probably be spent on more books.*

 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Halló Bookworms,

Today we’re going to Iceland. Yes, the land of Björk and that volcano that destroyed air travel for a time in 2010 (Eyjafjallajökull, say that three times fast!) Every blogger in all the land, it seems, read and adored Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, and I could no longer in good conscience go about having not read it. Call it peer pressure. In any case, I just finished reading Burial Rites, and I’m going to tell you all about it. Whether you like it or not. Because I’m just like that.

burial ritesBurial Rites tells the story of Agnes. Agnes is accused of the murder of her employer and one of his associates. She was convicted of the crime with along with two companions, and sentenced to death. It’s 1829. And it’s Iceland. They didn’t exactly have a great prison system infrastructure, so they sent Agnes to  the modest family farm of a low ranking government official to await her execution.

At first the family is pretty freaked out at the idea of keeping a convicted murderer in their home. They live in an old-school Icelandic dwelling where everyone sleeps in a single room- a murderer in their home meant a murderer in their bedroom. Agnes isn’t really what they expect, though. She’s not some blood-thirsty knife-wielding psycho, she’s a woman well versed in farm work who never balks at the icky tasks. As time goes on, Agnes’s heartbreaking story slowly comes to light.

The novel is based in part on a true story- Agnes did, in fact, live. She was convicted of murder in 1829 and sentenced to death. Hannah Kent did a beautiful job of giving a voice to a person who would otherwise be lost to history. A gorgeous, heart-wrenching book.

I really enjoyed Burial Rites, but I’ve got to admit I fell down the Wikipedia rabbit hole several times while reading this. I know virtually nothing about Iceland, so I kept looking things up. My real stumbling block, though, was the names. Holy cow, Icelandic, man. Accent marks and umlauts and discordant groupings of consonants! I’ve heard that Finnish is the most difficult language to learn (that’s according to an eccentric English professor I once had) but Icelandic has got to be right up there. Wowza.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Do you know much about Iceland? What are your immediate associations with it? (Anybody who says D2: The Mighty Ducks gets 5 knucklepuck points!)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Bookish Accoutrements: Top Ten Tuesday

Howdy Bookworms,

It’s Tuesday again, and with that comes the opportunity to make a list… With a group. I’m a JOINER, see? (Well. A digital joiner. Maybe kind of. Whatever.) This week the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have challenged the book blogosphere to make a list of bookish things we’d like to own… You know, that aren’t books. This is bound to get ridiculous. Are you ready?!

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1. A personal library with sliding ladder. I don’t care that it’s impractical to live in a dwelling so large as to have a dedicated library. I don’t care that I read most of my books digitally. Maybe if I had my own LIBRARY, I wouldn’t need the digital storage space. And what’s a library without a sliding ladder?!

2. A Castle. Did I not mention that I wanted my library to be in a castle? Because I do. Castles are obviously the most bookish dwelling. (In place of a moat, though, I’ll install a lazy river for me to float around whilst reading my books. Nice right?)

3. This Alice in Wonderland necklace from Modcloth. Because Alice is my homegirl.

4. Cute Penguin Bookends. Why the heck not?

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5. A new booklight. This isn’t imperative at the moment, thanks to my GLORIOUS Kindle Paperwhite, but when I want to read a physical book in bed, I still use a book light. The one I have now is just okay… Maybe I’m spoiled by the back lighting I’m used to, but my current external booklight doesn’t seem to illuminate as well as I’d like.

6. A Bookish Scarf. I like wearing scarves, they’re a fun little accessory. I’d like a bookish one. I’ve seen one that contains the text of Pride and Prejudice that I covet. COVET.

7. Bookish Drinkware. What better to use to sip your coffee while reading than a bookish mug? I mean, really. And, you know, if you wanted to be super awesome, you could order one from my Zazzle store.

I should probably stop there. I mean, I already told you I want a castle complete with library, sliding ladders, and a lazy river. I think that’s about all the crazy the internet has time for today.
What about you, bookworms? Anything bookish you’ve had your eye on lately?
*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I may receive a small commission. I may not, too. It all depends on the link. Just so you know and all. Legalities.*

How I Was April Fooled by The Princess Bride

Hey there, Bookworms!

I am typically a curmudgeon about books that become movies. I am often underwhelmed and find myself keeping score of what they changed to adapt the book to the screen and why Hollywood was wrong for doing it. Things were all kinds of different for me when it came to The Princess Bride. I have seen the movie about a zillion times, starting when I was a kid. I didn’t realize it was adapted from a book until waaaaay after I’d perfected my “INCONCEIVABLE!” I was curious, though, so I decided I’d tackle the book version, formally titled The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman. (It’s quite a mouthful.)

I’ve mentioned that I’m pretty gullible, right? If Goldman had been playing an April Fool’s prank with this book, I’d totally have fallen for it. Goldman begins the book by saying that he isn’t writing the story, but abridging a classic work of literature his father read to him while he was recovering from pneumonia as a child. He claimed his father was a Florinese immigrant, that the tales within the book were at least partially true (if not a bit embellished, as such tales often are), and that he was merely paraphrasing another’s work. I THOUGHT that Florin and Guilder sounded like fake countries, but my knowledge of Europe is not infallible. They could very well have been countries at one point once upon a time and then been swallowed up. I mean, Poland lost its “I’m a country” status plenty of times throughout history, the poor dear.

Despite my innate gullibility, it wasn’t long before my BS meter started pinging, and I turned to Wikipedia. Not only is there no original work by S. Morgenstern, there’s no Florin or Guilder (they sound familiar because they used to be currency.) Heck, even the wife and son Goldman claims to have are fictional. The Princess Bride was actually inspired by stories Goldman used to tell his daughters, and he masterminded the whole thing, fake countries and all. Well played, Goldman.

I deserve the mocking. (Source)

I deserve the mocking. (Source)

After I stopped feeling like a nincompoop, I settled in to enjoy the story. The bulk of the action plays out very similarly to the movie- it’s a pretty faithful adaptation. The Grandfather and Fred Savage bits are indeed quite different, but it still totally works. Fabulous example of book to movie done right, if you ask me. If you haven’t seen The Princess Bride or read the book, you should probably stop what you’re doing right now and go do one or the other. How does one go through life without these critical cultural references? I mean, there’s FEZZIK, the coolest soft-hearted giant ever! (The coolest soft-hearted half-giant is, of course, Hagrid.) Evil Humperdink and the 6 fingered Count Rugen. Miracle friggin MAX! Westley and Buttercup and their grand romance… “As you wish…” Siiiiigh. And of course, there’s this:

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REVENGE! (source)

Just read it. Or watch it. Okay? If you need MORE reasons, check out Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity and her fabulous post (and more GIF-y goodness) 10 Life Lessons from The Princess Bride.

I know a ton of you Bookworms have seen and/or read The Princess Bride. Tell me your favorite moments! 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. You would NOT be committing a blunder to do so, though I don’t recommend getting into a land war in Asia.*

Bookish Boombox (Part 2) An Idiosyncratic Lit List

Howdy Bookworms!

It’s been a while since I put together a Mix Tape Masterpiece for y’all, so I think it’s about time. If you’re interested in how this went last time, you can check it out here. Are you ready?

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1. Real Happy Family by Caeli Wolfson Widger = “Celebrity Skin” by Hole. Could this song BE any more perfect for this book? It’s the quintessential Hollywood wannabe anthem! It’s also proof that I’m sort of stuck in the 90s. (my review)

2. The Remedy by Thomas Goetz = “The Remedy” by Jason Mraz. In fairness, the only thing the book and the song have in common is a title. However. I can’t see the title without getting this song stuck in my head, so for me, they’re a pair.

3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty = “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads. Because amnesia. No really. Alice loses a good chunk of her memory and wanders around being pretty confused. It just goes with the song, you know? (my review)

What about you, Bookworms? Do you have any songs that just BELONG with certain books?

 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site I will receive a small commission.*

Ballerinas, Y’all! (Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead)

Bonjour, Bookworms!

I feel like greeting you in French because ballet lingo is all in French, and today, we’re talking about le danse! When I saw Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead in the Netgalley catalog, I requested it IMMEDIATELY. I have a soft spot for dance, what can I say? I spent most of my childhood dancing (not well, mind you, but dancing none the less) so I couldn’t help myself. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No ballerinas were harmed in the reading of this novel. 

astonishmeAstonish Me centers on  a dancer named Joan. She’s in the corps (AKA, the background) of a professional ballet company without much hope of advancement. Ballet is a cruel mistress, and genetically perfect feet, hips, turnout, and stature can dictate a dancer’s future regardless of effort, and our dear Joan was stuck in the shallow end of that gene pool. Joan’s dancing career is second only to her personal life on the suck-o-meter. She is recovering from a bad breakup with her impossibly talented ballet boyfriend, who has replaced Joan with a gorgeous Russian prima ballerina… A rebounding Joan decides to take a trip to visit the boy who worshiped her in high school (Jacob) for an ego boost. Aaaaaand she winds up pregnant.

Joan relinquishes the ballet life in New York and settles into family life. She marries Jacob, who is still infatuated with her. She tries to adjust to the life of a suburban wife, but soon is called again by ballet. Joan begins to teach dance lessons, sculpting both her son and her neighbor’s daughter into impressive dancers. She watches as they are enveloped in the world she loved and lost.

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You guys, this book was SO GOOD. It had family drama with a dash of politics and a heaping side of ballet. All the neuroses and the ugly calloused feet! The obsession and the dedication and the struggle with mediocrity! The love and the hate and the drugs and the madness all wrapped into one glorious story. If you have any interest in ballet, dance, or just one heck of a good story, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Astonish Me

Because I lack pride, boundaries, and I still have an affinity for tutus, I’m including this little ballerina Katie retrospective for your viewing pleasure. Forgive my lack of photography skills, I was trying to snap cell phone pictures of prints in an album, because I am the laziest person on planet earth.

Dance was, as I’ve mentioned, my #1 recreational activity as a kid. What about you, Bookworms? Any other adolescent ballerinas? Soccer stars? Little League sluggers? Show choir? Tell me about it!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

Offbeat Books: A Top Ten Tuesday List

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

You know what I love about Tuesdays? Making lists with the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish! This week we’ve been tasked with making a list of some of the most unique books we’ve read. This should be fun!

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1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell: Dude. This is about a family that runs their own amusement park centered on wrestling alligators. Oh yeah. A rival amusement park that is designed to simulate Hell features prominently. Offbeat? Quirky? Unique? I think so! (my review)

2. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: I have to admit that this book wasn’t really my cup of tea, but it’s got quirk in spades. A family so intent on creating a family of oddities that they experiment with radioactive isotopes during gestation? Complete craziness, I tell you! (my review)

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: The most wondrous ride through a magical circus that has ever been! I love the crap out of this book, it’s gorgeous and lovely, whimsical and poignant. (my review)

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4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: How sweet was this book? Don isn’t your typical leading man, but the love story was just a delight. Rosie and Don and cocktail mixing FTW! (my review)

5. Room by Emma Donoghue: I thought this book was innovative. Telling the story of a kidnapping and subsequent captivity at the hands of a madman through the eyes of a child? Fascinating perspective. (my review)

6. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: I didn’t read this as a kid, but I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t. So much wordplay and fun and learning! It’s imagination taken to the next level!

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: How much more imaginative can you get than creating an entire alternate universe in London’s subway tunnels? Gaiman mingles mythology and legend in the craziest ways. Weird and fabulous. (my review)

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8. Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking by Scott Navicky: Oooooh this book! It’s tough to describe this one, but it sure is a crazy ride. I’m not just saying that because I was blurbed in the paperback… But I was BLURBED in the paperback!!! (my review)

9. Flight by Sherman Alexie: This book takes teen angst to a whole new dimension… Like literally, because the protagonist gets all time-travely and metaphysical. (my review)

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: I really loved this book! Getting inside the head of Christopher who suffered on the Autism spectrum was fascinating. (my review)

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What about you, Bookworms? What are some of your favorite weird, unique, quirky, crazy reads? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*