Liebster Award

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The wonderful Literature Life nominated me for the Liebster Award earlier this week, which is very exciting since It’s my first nomination. The award is designed to help people discover new bloggers, which I think is a wonderful way to show blogger support.

THE RULES

  • Link back to the person that nominated you
  • Answer the questions given by the nominator
  • Nominate new bloggers (with less than 200 followers)
  • Come up with 11 questions for them to answer
  • Notify your nominees

I Nominate:

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Reinreads

Running Through The Library

Crap Books

 

QUESTIONS FROM AMY

1. Where is your favourite reading spot?

My favourite reading spot would have to be cozied up in bed. I have tons of pillows and can create a little pillow and blanket castle for myself.

2. How long does it tend to take you to read an average length novel?

If I’m really into a book I will usually finish it in one night, but when I’m in school I usually only read 1-2 books per week.

3. Ebooks or hard copies?

Hard Copies!! I work in a bookstore and am therefore a huge advocate for physical books. I also just love the feeling of a book, the smell of a book, and conversations started by people seeing what book I’m reading. Even when I go travelling I love love love physical books.

4. Where is your favourite book store in the world?

I should say Chapters Indigo (which I do love), because I work there…. but I really really love Powell’s Books in Portland. It’s so huge!!! I went there for the first time this fall and only had enough time to spend 3 hours there, but I would have spent all day there if I could. I’m also  huge fan of Shakespeare and Co. bookshops, and have been to one in Prague, Vienna, Paris, and London.

5. What is your favourite book to (film/TV/stage/game) adaptation?

This will probably be my longest answer since it combines all my biggest obsessions and I can’t just choose one. The first few Harry Potter movies of course! The later ones I still adored, obvs, but didn’t stick to the storyline quite as well. I also really loved The Fault in Our Stars adaptation of John Green’s novel and am super excited for Paper Towns this summer as I slightly adore Nat Wolff since the movie Stuck in Love . Also, can I just say that the music in the Paper Towns trailer is tops! I recently watched The Duff, and I actually enjoyed it better than the book. It was funnier, and I understood the main character’s relationship choices more in the movie. Mae Whitman, who plays the main character in The Duff, is amazing and hilarious and perfectly awkward for the role (She was also in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Parenthood). Last, but not least, Game of Thrones!! It is one of the most epic TV shows I have ever watched, and this current season (which is the 5th) is going to be bringing in story lines that are no longer in the books!

6. What was the last book you found yourself not able to finish?

Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern. I found myself getting frustrated and kind of disgusted by the  lack of empathy shown by the main character, Lillian, for the issues her friend, Penny, is going through. She doesn’t seem to care that Penny is in an abusive relationship and has been conditioned into her submissive mentality, and just constantly mentions how annoying Penny is. Then she just goes back to being in love with her best friend Josh, like her friend hasn’t completely run away from her messed up life. I know that Lillian is only 18 and might not have as much understand on the subject of abuse, but her whole nonchalant-blaming-the-victim attitude was just too much for me and I had to stop reading it.

7. Have you ever met any of your favourite authors?

Yes! Working at Chapters I was able to work book events for Evangeline Lilly, John Cleese, Chris Guillebeau and Martin Short. I also went to a book talk and signing for Holly Black and Cassandra Clare a few years ago, which was amazing and hilarious. Cassandra told us a story about having her friend lock her in the trunk of a car and drive around town so that she could get the proper descriptions for a scene in her Mortal Instruments series.

8. If you weren’t a book blogger (or bookish at all), what would you spend your spare time doing?

Aside from hanging out with people i would probably be baking, crafting, and watching lots of TV and movies. I love being creative and doing DIY projects. I’m super excited for when the time comes that I move out and can find free and creative ways to decorate my place entirely with DIY projects. I’ve been a huge baker since I was a wee one and have signed up to take buttercream cake decorating classes at Michael’s craft store in May. So excited!!

9. What was your favourite book of 2014?

My favourite book of 2014 was probably a tie between Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson.

10. What are you most looking forward to reading in the rest of 2015?

Oh how to choose? Here are a few…

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1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – October 2015

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story-but far, far more monsters. It’s the real story of the fanfiction that Cath was writing about in Fangirl!!!

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2. The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick – Out Now

The book has four interlocking stories that chronicle creation, obsession, and madness from the Paleolithic era all the way into our future in space. It makes stops in every American Horror Story’s favorite places: the witch hunts and a 1920s asylum, but the story defies expectations on every single page.

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3. Mosquitoland by David Arnold – Out Now

A young girl who hops a bus from Mississippi to Ohio to visit her sick mother, and who, like other great literary road-trippers, learns a whole lot about herself along the way. Arnold has already been chosen with nine other debut novelists for the ABA Indies New Voices list, and that’s not an honor given lightly, so it’s definitely a book to keep your eye on.

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4. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – September 2015

The 4th book in the Throne of Glass series!!

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5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sahaa Tahir – Out Now

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom.

 

11. If you were (or are) a writer, which genre of books would you write?

Probably contemporary young adult fiction because I suck at creating new worlds from my imagination and would need to pull a lot from real life, but I am no way at all ever going to be a writer.

MY 11 QUESTIONS

1. What are some books that you re-read frequently?

2. What are three 2015 books that you love the cover design of? (Make sure to add pictures)

3. What is your favourite beverage to drink while reading?

4. What book to screen adaptation are you most excited for in 2015?

5. Who are your favourite book boyfriends?

6. What lessons have books taught you?

7. If you could only pick 1 genre to read forever, which one would it be and why?

8. What time of day do you do the most reading?

9. What are your ‘guilty pleasure’ books to read?

10. What is your favourite book series of all-time?

and borrowing this one from Amy because I love it…

11. What books are you most excited to read in 2015?

Hope you enjoy! And make sure to go and checkout the blogs I nominated and follow them if you enjoy their style 🙂

 

Suggestions for the Sherlock Holmes Obsessed

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My friends and I all seem to be quite obsessed with everything Sherlock Holmes, and rightly so. I mean a brooding, and usually handsome, genius who has a sly and sarcastic wit. I wanted to create a post to give a few movie, book, and television suggestions for people like me who love anything related to Sherlock Holmes.

Most of you probably already watch Sherlock, but I do still have to put it in here because it is the best of the best if you’re Sherlock Holmes obsessed.

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Then of course there are the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr., who was basically made for the role of Sherlock Holmes. His version of Sherlock Holmes is eerily similar to Iron Man in portrayal, which makes sense. They are both weird, slightly mad geniuses with huge egos. Plus Rachel McAdams is in it! I do so love her. Although I don’t think she fits the role of Irene Adler very well. Noomi Rapace, of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Prometheus fame, plays a sort of gypsy in Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows.

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There is also the new American TV version of Sherlock Holmes called Elementary. It stars Lucy Liu as a female version of Dr. Watson and Johnny Lee Miller as a recovering drug addict version of Sherlock Holmes. It’s honestly not fantastic, it just doesn’t have the same kind of intelligence to it as the previously mentioned movie and TV show. You can usually tell where the plot is going and who did the crime. It’s more of a stereotypical procedural crime drama with the Sherlock name attached. All that said, it’s still an entertaining show if you go into thinking of it more as an American detective show and not as much as Sherlock Holmes.

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Now, onto wonderfully Young Adult book suggestions for Sherlock lovers. I recently started reading The Stoker and Holmes series by Colleen Gleason. A wonderful and addictive series that revolves around Bram Stoker’s sister and Sherlock Holmes’ niece working with Irene Adler to solve crimes in a steampunk version of 19th century London. It is a quick and easy read, entertaining, with an interesting plot. The characters are not incredibly well developed, and the scenery could be more descriptive since the hints of it that I read just left me wanting to get a better visual of this interesting world. I still found the series very interesting and am whipping through the second book right now.

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Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

Another book that I have not read yet, but am very excited for, is Every Breath by Ellie Marney. I can’t say much on this one, because I have not started it yet, except that it seems like a cheesy but enjoyable young adult novel about a modern day teenage Sherlock Holmes and female Watson.

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Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.

 

P.S. Not so much Sherlock Holmes related, but if you like books about crime solving teenagers with crazy abilities of deduction then you will love The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The first two books are out and I’ve read them both and loved them. Both would get 4.5/5

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Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Like These? Try These…. Hunger Games & Divergent

Here are a few, hopefully not overdone, suggestions for books you might like if you enjoyed The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. The Maze Runner  by James Dashner is pretty obvious, so I didn’t include it in the chart. Another series people usually suggest is Matched by Ally Condie and although I loved the first book I really did not enjoy the second or third book in the series.

LTW - Hunger Games & Divergent

If you did enjoy The Maze Runner series I would also highly recommend James Dashner’s new series. The first book is called The Eye of Minds:

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Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern – Book Review

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Amy and Matthew didn’t know each other, really. They weren’t friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn’t friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he’s helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except the one thing that matters most.

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This book was funny, and hopeful, and heartbreaking, and eye-opening. I had never read a book before that put me in the shoes of someone who literally couldn’t speak (verbally, because she does use a computer to communicate) for themselves. Both Amy and Matthew have struggles that they are attempting to overcome for the majority of the book. Having the book from both of their mindsets truly allowed for me to experience two lives completely unlike my own and yet so similar in their dreams and goals, despite dealing with things much harder than anything I’ve ever dealt with.

I feel like this book helped me see different sides to OCD and Cerebral Palsy that I never would have, had I not read this. I think one of the greatest things a book can do is to make people more open and empathetic to the different struggles that everyone faces. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to gain a new perspective on life, and who enjoys a good love story. Matthew and Amy’s characters are both extremely interesting, and are developed well throughout the storyline. I would give this book 4/5

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[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]

My only qualm is that it ended almost too perfectly, with them getting together in the end. I honestly just really enjoyed that Matthew was able to finally connect with other people and deal more successfully with his OCD. I loved that Amy took charge of her own life and went back to university to do what she wanted, standing up to her mom in the process, and worked incredibly hard to become successful. They both found their paths and were happy in their lives, so adding them getting back together and being in love seemed slightly over the top for me. But, it was still a cute ending.

Books Offering New Perspectives:

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

Blind by Rachel Dewoskin

Like This? Try These… Skins (UK)

Ever since my trip to London at age 13 I’ve been mildly obsessed with British pop culture. If we’re honest, I’m sure most people would agree that British TV shows are usually much better than American shows (Well, until HBO, Showcase, and Netflix started creating original programming). I remember being in high school and streaming any British show I could find online, and this was in the time when online stream versions of shows could be someone literally filming their television *gasp*. I’ve found a lot of people have recently discovered the TV show Skins because of Netflix and wanted to give a few suggestions for other fantastic UK shows that revolve around young adults. So, here are a few shows that I adored, which you might as well if you enjoyed Skins.

P.S. The American version of Skins is atrocious, don’t watch it….

LTW - British YA Shows

Shadow of Night by Kelley Armstrong – Book Review

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I’ve been waiting for this book to be released and picked it up as soon as I saw it appear on the shelf at work!

Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong is the sequel to Sea of Shadows, which is about twin sisters who have to flee after their village is decimated and find themselves on a journey, with an attractive warrior and a criminal, to figure out what is behind the supernatural attack. I loved the first book, Sea of Shadows, and would rate it with 4/5 stars, and the second book turned out to be even better.

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Empire of Night was yet another epic adventure, bringing in new otherwordly beasts that were easy to picture with Armstrong’s description. The twins, Ashyn and Moria, travel to new parts of their realm, allowing the reader to experience more of their world. I enjoy that Kelley Armstrong doesn’t just leave the rest of the series to be told from the capital, but keeps the sense of adventure going.

Yes, there is romance mixed into this fantasy series, but it is very well done. I’ve found some fantasy and dystopian YA authors don’t create a great balance between the plot of the book and the romance the main character experiences. It can sometimes feel a bit ridiculous that these characters are in life threatening situations, and instead of thinking about saving themselves they just dream of their ‘true’ love.  Is anyone with me when I say there was way too much lovey dovey poetry in the sequel to Matched by Ally Condie?

I appreciate that Armstrong wrote both Ashyn and Moria intelligently, not pining after guys who hurt them or guys who aren’t interested in them. The love stories in this book also don’t overwhelm the rest of the plot, they didn’t make me roll my eyes or want to put the book down because of some outrageous decision a character makes due to love ( I once threw a book onto the floor at how mad I became at the main female character’s romantic choices).

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How I felt reading Crossed by Ally Condie and Deny by Sara B. Larson because of
the stupid romantic choices of the main characters

This book was very enjoyable, with intelligent and strong female characters. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the final installment in this series, and will be checking out more of Kelley Armstrong’s other books.

Rating: 4.25/5

For Fans Of: Graceling, Fire, or Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore; Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas; and Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch